西芳寺   Click to listen highlighted text! 西芳寺


Saihō-ji, also known as Koke-dera or the “Moss Temple,” is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the western hills of Kyoto, Japan. The temple’s main attraction is its stunning moss garden, which covers over 2 acres of the temple’s grounds. The garden is considered to be one of the most beautiful and well-preserved examples of traditional Japanese garden design, and attracts visitors from around the world.

The temple was originally founded in the 8th century by Gyōki, a Buddhist monk who is said to have been inspired by a vision of the bodhisattva Kannon. Over the centuries, the temple fell into disrepair and was rebuilt several times, with the current buildings dating back to the 17th century. The moss garden was created by the famous Zen monk and garden designer Musō Soseki in the 14th century.

Saihō-ji has a rich cultural history, and has been associated with many famous figures throughout the centuries. Emperor Saga, who reigned from 809 to 823, is said to have visited the temple often to admire its natural beauty. The famous poet Matsuo Bashō also visited Saihō-ji and wrote a haiku about its moss garden. The temple has also been a popular destination for foreign dignitaries, including former US President Barack Obama.

The temple’s moss garden is the main attraction for visitors, and for good reason. The garden is a stunning example of Japanese garden design, with carefully arranged mosses covering the ground and creating a serene and peaceful atmosphere. The garden also features a large pond, stone bridges, and a variety of trees and shrubs that complement the mosses. Visitors are encouraged to take their time exploring the garden and admiring its many features.

In addition to the moss garden, Saihō-ji also features a main hall, a tea house, and several other buildings. The temple’s main hall houses a statue of Amitabha Buddha, and is surrounded by beautiful gardens and trees. The tea house, which dates back to the 16th century, is open to visitors and offers a traditional Japanese tea ceremony experience.

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