Saiho-ji Zen Garden (Moss Temple) Kyoto Japan



December 2009. An ancient temple said to have been established by the monk Gyoki during the Nara Period, Saiho-ji Temple was restored and converted into a Zen temple by the monk Muso Soseki in 1339. The precincts are covered by more than 120 types of moss, resembling a beautiful green carpet – thus its other name, Kokedera Temple, which literally means “Moss Temple.” The garden, designated as a special place of scenic beauty, consists of a lower landscape garden surrounding a pond shaped like the Chinese character kokoro (heart), and an upper dry landscape-style rock garden built by Muso Soseki. This garden has exerted a great deal of influence on later Japanese gardens.

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