Applying To Visit Saihoji (Kokedera) Temple 西芳寺
Visiting Saihoji - Making A Reservation
This must be done as early as possible: weeks, not days, ahead.
Busy periods when reservations can be difficult include the cherry blossom period in Kyoto, (usually in April), the month of May, which includes the Golden Week holidays in the first week of May, weekends and over Obon in the middle of August.
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.
If you would like JapanVisitor to complete this formality for you we charge 2,200 yen for the service.
We would need:
-your full name
-the date of your visit
-any alternative dates (the more the better your chances)
-the number of people attending
-the address of your accommodation in Japan, such as the name of your hotel with the 7 digit zip code
Please contact us as far in advance as possible (a month ahead at the very least). In the event of the application being turned down by Saihoji, we refund the 2,200 yen minus the 150-yen costs involved in making the application.
You only need one application whether you are a single visitor or a group.
You will receive a postcard from Saihoji Temple at your accommodation in Japan with the date and time of your visit. 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 will receive a postcard informing you. See below for examples of a successful and not successful card. Your hotel in Kyoto will be able to help you translate.
If you apply far enough in advance and do not have accommodation in Japan, we can receive the application and send it on to you either at your home address overseas or to your accommodation in Japan. This is charged extra.
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. Prior to entering, you will be asked to take part in a period of zazen (meditation) or the chanting of sutras. This lasts 40 minutes to an hour but allowance is made for people to retire early from this, especially the elderly, infirm or non-Japanese visitors.
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 56
Tel: 075 391 3631