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“Our best temple experience”
Review of Saihoji Temple

Saihoji Temple
Ranked #98 of 1,409 things to do in Kyoto
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Reviewed 1 October 2017 via mobile

The temple is beautiful. Its best quality is that ot is not crouded, since you have to sign up in advance.
The sutra copying was annoying for some of us, but they offer you to skip it.

Still, the entrence fee is too high.

2  Thank Yonatan B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (226)
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"moss garden"
in 31 reviews
"heart sutra"
in 3 reviews
"concierge service"
in 2 reviews
"entry process"
in 2 reviews
"effort involved"
in 2 reviews
"hotel mume"
in 2 reviews
"prayer service"
in 2 reviews
"post card"
in 3 reviews
"minute bus ride"
in 2 reviews
"entry fee"
in 4 reviews
"yen per person"
in 3 reviews
"soba noodles"
in 2 reviews
"well worth the effort"
in 2 reviews
"main hall"
in 2 reviews
"copying"
in 14 reviews
"chanting"
in 19 reviews
"permission"
in 11 reviews
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10 - 14 of 226 reviews

Reviewed 25 August 2017 via mobile

Other reviewers have noted this, and I will say it too, getting tickets to this temple is a hassle; however, it is definitely worth it even for the high cost of labor and money.
This temple is an active Buddhist temple and when you arrive you are ushered into a hall for prayer. While we spoke no Japanese, it was spiritual to be surrounded by chanting with the road noises nonexistent and only the sound of others. After the chanting and wish writing we were shown into the garden. The level of care that went into every single vignette in the garden was breath taking. No matter where you looked there was a carefully tended scene that drew you in to intricacy and care that had been exerted there. Moving slowly it took us about 45 minutes to see the whole garden, and nobody rushed us. Afterwards we took the 63 bus into the city center--took about 40 min--and found lunch. The fastest I think you could do this whole visit would be to pair it with something on that side of town and spent 1 hour at the temple then spend about 20 min getting to your next destination.

2  Thank Clara E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 July 2017

This Shinto temple is unique. You have to book well in advance and it has to be done from inside Japan. We organised it through Hotel Mume in Kyoto, and they had our access ready when we checked in, and organised a taxi to get us there. The temple was first created in the year 700 and was 'renovated' in 1300! It is now World Heritage listed.
Once in and settled at traditional Japanese writing tables we were then overwhelmed by the haunting chant delivered for 15 minutes by the monks. We were then asked to prepare a Sutra (wish) and write this on a timber tablet using Japanese brushes and ink. This was then presented to the temple to be prayed for.
We then visited the gardens which were just incredible. 120 different types of moss, incredible trees, wonderfully presented pathways and rock formations.
A beautiful place to visit, well worth the effort.

1  Thank leoharney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 June 2017 via mobile

This was our best garden visit. The moss gardens are spectacular and breathtaking. It was raining when we visited...that made it even more beautiful. Moss as a ground cover is underrated in the west .... here you will see a thing of beauty.....and a joy forever.
The scribing of the lotus sutra put us in the right frame of mind. The entrance fee of 3000 yen is steep and the application process you have read about keeps this place from being overrun by crowds. An absolute must-see... if you get the permit beforehand.

2  Thank rahi1964
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 4 June 2017 via mobile

Saihoji temple is famous for its lovely Moss Garden. But, for me it should be famous for its mandatory Buddha Scripture copying for each visiting guest. The temple is opened daily once for a fixed number of visitors. Anyone interested to visit, needs to send a postcard to the temple with your request of visit with details of name, number in the party and date of visit. The temple will then send a post card 'admission permit'. On the day of the visit, each guest is to finish copying a Buddha Scripture before visiting the garden. The copying of the Buddha Scripture is a blessing gesture.

1  Thank Seok Ting C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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