Saihoji Temple Application
Saihoji Temple Application: use a proxy service to have JapanVisitor complete the application process to visit Saihoji Temple (Moss Temple) in Kyoto.
Applying To Visit Saihoji (Kokedera) Temple 西芳寺
Visiting Saihoji - Making A Reservation
A reservation is required to visit Saihoji Temple in Kyoto, famous for its enchanting moss-covered grounds.
This must be done as early as possible: months or weeks, not days, ahead.
Busy periods when reservations can be difficult include the cherry blossom period in Kyoto, (usually mid-March to mid-April), the month of May, which includes the Golden Week holidays in the first week of May, weekends, the rainy season in June and over Obon in the middle of August.
Entrance time at the temple is 10 am or 1 pm and it is not possible to stipulate a preferred time in advance.
Also from June 1, 2019 all visitors must be over 12 years of age.
From January 14 (Tuesday) to March 5 (Thursday), 2020, the garden will be closed to allow for recovery time. Visitors will be able to visit the main hall (西来堂) where there will be an exhibition of 104 fusuma sliding Japanese screens by Insho Domoto. Visitors may also try Zazen (meditation) at places set aside by the temple.
Moss at Kokedera Temple (Moss Temple) KyotoApplication form for Saihoji Temple
The application process involves sending a self-addressed stamped postcard (ofuku hagaki; 往復はがき) available from the Japanese post office or a convenience store, or, if sending from overseas, a postcard with an international reply coupon to Saihoji.
The ofuku hagaki is a set of two postcards one of which will be used by Saihoji to reply.
What is needed?
Visitors will need to undertake this process themselves as Saihoji seem no longer to allow the return cards to be sent to applicants' hotels.
You will need two envelopes, a Japanese reply-paid postcard, and some Japanese stamps.
You can purchase the ofuku hagaki postcard here
On the right-hand side of the side with the green-colored stamp write:
-your full name
-the date of your visit
-any alternative dates (the more the better your chances)
-the number of people attending
-your address in your home country.
Address your envelope to Saihoji at the address below. Inside this envelope enclose another envelope with your address in your home country.
You will need to affix some Japanese stamps to it.
You can purchase Japanese stamps here
Here are the postal rates for letters up to 25 grams in weight to various parts of the world.
USA, Europe, Australia, New Zealand 110 yen
Asia: 90 yen
Africa, South America: 130 yen
You will receive a postcard from Saihoji Temple at your home address with the date and time of your visit (if successful). Take this postcard to the temple and pay the admission fee of 3,000 yen per person. In the event you are not successful, you should receive a postcard informing you. See below for examples of a successful and not successful card. Your hotel in Kyoto (or other part of Japan) will be able to help you translate.
Returned successful application form for Saihoji Temple
Returned unsuccessful application form for Saihoji Temple
Do not show up late for your appointed time on the day of your visit.
The visit fee charged by Saihoji is 3,000 yen per person, which is the highest in Kyoto. Upon entering, you will be asked to take part in a session of sutra copying (shakyo). This lasts as long as it takes you to trace with a brush-pen the sutra on tracing paper provided by the temple. You must bring your own brush-pen (fude-pen in Japanese, available from any convenience- or stationery store from as little as about 100 yen) or buy one for 300 yen at the temple.
After completing the shakyo, you are free to stroll through the garden for the next two hours.
Moss at Kokedera (Saihoji) in western Kyoto
Moss Temple Access - how to get to Saihoji
Kyoto Bus #63 from Shijo Kawaramachi and Sanjo Keihan Station is the most straightforward. Get off at Koke-dera/Suzumushi-dera - the final stop. There is only one bus an hour at 27 minutes past the hour. See here for the full timetable: www.kyotobus.jp/route/timetable/pdf/shijokawaramachi_03.pdf
Kyoto Bus #29 starts at Shijo-Karasuma. Get off at Koke-dera-michi bus stop. Go back a little in the direction the bus came from, as far as the footbridge across the main Mozume-kaido Road, and go left there. You will get to Koke-dera in just under 10 minutes.
Kyoto Buses #73 and #28 start at Kyoto Station.
Take bus #73 to the "Kokedera Suzumushidera" stop and walk 3 minutes. There are #73 buses on the hour or just past the hour from 8am to 9pm and at approximately 20 minutes past and 20 minute to the hour. See here for the full timetable. www.kyotobus.jp/route/timetable/pdf/kyotoekimae_02.pdf
On the #28 bus get off at Matsuo-Taisha-mae bus stop. Walk back down the main Mozume-kaido Road in the direction the bus came from, about 12 minutes to the second footbridge, then right down Koke-dera-michi for about 8 minutes.
The nearest train station to Saihoji Temple is JR Saga Arashiyama. From Kyoto Station the journey takes about 12-16 minutes on the JR Sagano Line to Kameoka and Sonobe and costs 240 yen. From JR Saga Arashiyama Station a taxi would cost about 1,000 yen and takes about 10 minutes.
Alternatively from Shijo Station on the Kyoto subway take a Hankyu Arashiyama Line train to Matsuo Taisha Station and walk 20 minutes.
Matsuo Jingatani-cho 56Nishikyo-kuKyoto 615-8286 JAPANTel: 075 391 3631
A carpet of moss at Kokedera (Saihoji Temple) in western Kyoto
Moss at Kokedera in western Kyoto