We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Saihoji Temple/Moss Gardens reservation

Hartford...
Level Contributor
84 posts
12 reviews
Save Topic
Saihoji Temple/Moss Gardens reservation

Hi, everyone!

We are trying to secure reservations to visit the Moss Garden in Kyoto. According to my research, you must write requesting an appointment and include an International Postal Return Coupon. The USPS no longer issues those. So...does anyone know of an alternative?

I found a service online called "Saihoji Kokedera" which claims to obtain the appointment for you, for a small fee. Has anyone had experience with such a service, or specifically this one?

Thanks!

Cairns
Level Contributor
1,422 posts
47 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Saihoji Temple/Moss Gardens reservation

Hi

We're off to Kyoto in August for two weeks to visit the temple gardens. The more we read the more we realise how much there is to experience and learn. Perhaps two weeks will simply not be long enough.

Re Saiho-ji. We made contact with Toshiyuki Shitanaka at quintessentially@hotmail.co.jp. Once he had all our information to complete the application he sends it to Saiho-ji. The charge is 1700Y by Paypal for this service and he said that if the application is not accepted he refunds the fee. If accepted Saiho-ji sends the acceptance to your accommodation in Japan a week or so before the day of the visit. Toshiyuki said he has no control over this process, they are simply a vehicle to pass the applications onto Saiho-ji.

Good luck

Hartford...
Level Contributor
84 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Saihoji Temple/Moss Gardens reservation

Thanks so much for your reply. I hope you enjoy your trip. Did you decide to use the service?

Jacksonville
Level Contributor
3 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Saihoji Temple/Moss Gardens reservation

We sent the card through our hotel. They were happy to pay for postage and accept the return postcard. Ran in to same problem with USPS

Cairns
Level Contributor
1,422 posts
47 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Saihoji Temple/Moss Gardens reservation

Hi Bea

Yes we completed the info online by email with Toshiyuki-san.

He said he can only forward the application within two months of the visit and will arrange to receive the acceptance to forward on to us.

We are staying in a private house in Gion for two weeks so it is easier for us to do it this way.

Are waiting to hear from him.

Good luck

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
484 posts
111 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Saihoji Temple/Moss Gardens reservation

Im a little bit late to the thread but wanted to add that I used www.saihoji-kokedera-reservation.com/about/ for our May trip and no problems

Our card was reply ready for us when we checked in at Kyoto and on the day we took a taxi to the Moss Temple and enjoyed the visit. Depending on your time booking, I suggest taking a sandwhich and drink for lunch while you are waiting (we had a 1pm booking)

They are not joking about having to do some caligraphy and a chant - It actually took about 30mins and there was lots of caligraphy to copy (you have a sheet you write over the letters with a pen). Thankfully they had some western style seating/tables as well as the kneel on the floor.

Afterwards, walked down the street and there was a city bus to Kyoto so easier to get back to our hotel than to the temple.

Cairns
Level Contributor
1,422 posts
47 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Saihoji Temple/Moss Gardens reservation

Hi

Great that it worked out for you.

We would like to stay on that side of Kyoto to visit other temple gardens so will wait and see what we get.

Glad they have western sitting as my 68yo knees would not bear kneeling for half an hour.

Regards

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
484 posts
111 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Saihoji Temple/Moss Gardens reservation

I do suggest gettting there about 15mins before opening. You show your card to the man at the gate and then you have to go pay in one of the buildings and then you are shown to the room where you do your caligraphy. There was about 20 desks/chairs but at least 50 people so get a table/chair sooner than later

After you complete the page and a half of caligraphy - and here I thought it would be a pretty chinese symbol but nope, silly me. You then present your paper to a prayer box (no idea what its called) and then you are free to tour the gardens. Very pretty - glad we did it

A couple of photos from our visit (i really have to hurry up and upload some pics/trip report)

Caligraphy. You are given a sheet of paper with faint printing and have to rewrite everything.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/94857962@N04/9156779670/

Western seats

http://www.flickr.com/photos/94857962@N04/9156779380/in/photostream/

Kneel or sit on the floor

http://www.flickr.com/photos/94857962@N04/9156779472/in/photostream/

2 posts
1 review
Save Reply
8. Re: Saihoji Temple/Moss Gardens reservation

Hi there,

I was just wondering how long it took you to get a reply through this service? We're you contacted beforehand to confirm that your request was received or did you only hear back when your reservation was made?

I submitted a request form almost a week ago and have no heard anything.

Cairns
Level Contributor
1,422 posts
47 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Saihoji Temple/Moss Gardens reservation

Hi

We are unable to recommend the system we used as described in an earlier post

We received confirmation by email that Saijo-ji had given permission to visit however the permit never arrived at the house we rented in Gion and so were unable to attend

The agency refunded our fee

It would be a good idea to check with other travellers that their method works

Cheers

NYC
Level Contributor
428 posts
10 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Saihoji Temple/Moss Gardens reservation

I am in Kyoto on an extended trip. I used the method described in the link:

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3937.html

It cost 104 yen

I sent my ofuku hagaki on Monday afternoon, and received my reservation card back on Friday or Saturday - don't remember. I don't know if it made a difference but I only needed the reservation for myself and also I gave them a range of dates rather than one day as my schedule was flexible.

If you are staying at a hotel with concierge service maybe they will do it for you?