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Saiho-ji (Moss Temple), Kyoto

Kyoto, Japan, Asia
56 Jingatani-cho, Matsuo
Japan 615-8286
Tel: 81 75 391 3631's insider take:

Converted into a Zen temple in 1339, Saiho-ji Temple, in the southwestern outskirts of Kyoto, is justly renowned for its large and lush moss garden, which blankets the varied terrain with multihued green and blue fuzz. The effect is beautiful and rather otherworldly. To visit this World Heritage Site, you must reserve ahead of time by snail mail; the process is slightly complicated (you need a Japanese return address), so ask your travel agent or contact the tourist office for help a few weeks before you leave home. Visitors must be over 18. When you do arrive—at the assigned date and time—you'll be required, along with everyone else, to sit and chant sutras or else copy them out with ink and brush before the monks will allow you into the garden. It's all part of the fun.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.