Photo Tour of Japan | Kokedera, The Moss Garden Temple in Kyoto

Mar 16 | Evan | No Comments |

Kokedera is one of my favorite places in Kyoto.  The Moss Garden Temple, aka Kokedera or Saiho-ji, is on the outskirts of Kyoto and you not only do you have to make reservation far in advance by mail, the entry fee is 3,000 yen per person.  Even though you do need a reservation for the Moss Garden Temple and that the entrance fee isn’t cheap, I can highly recommend Kokedera, especially during when the leaves are changing colors!  To make a reservation, you need to send a special kind of postcard available in Japan called “ofuku hagaki” and include how many are in your group, preferred date(s) of visiting as well as a self addressed and stamped return postcard.  You must make a reservation for Kokedera at least 7 days in advance but I recommend a month or more if you are going during peak season.  Saiho-ji starts to accept reservations two months before your intended date of visiting the temple.  If you want, I do provide the reservation service for Kokedera for $15 USD, please contact me for details.



Accessing Kokedera is not as easy as other sites in Kyoto, but again, it is worth making the extra effort to get there!  I recommend combining it with Arashiyama in the morning and having a early lunch at one of the many places close to Togetsukyo Bridge area before taking a short taxi ride to Kokedera.  The Moss Garden Temple only opens to the public once per day, so your session will start at 1pm but you should be there at least 15 minutes early.  When you arrive, you are invited to take place in a short service and sutra writing/chanting.  For non Japanese, a paper is offered with the characters on them already so you can trace the sutra.   You can do as much (or little as you like) of the writing, and after the service are free to explore the beautiful temple grounds.   Even though tripods are not allowed and the lighting during the middle of the day isn’t the best, you can still make some beautiful photos at Saiho-ji.  Below are a few more photos or you can also take a look here for more Kokedera Photos.

More from this photo tour of Japan is coming soon!  Here is the list of the places we visited and photographed in Japan.

Interested in your own custom photo tour and experiences in Japan?  Contact Japan Photo Guide today to start your adventure!