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Saihoji Temple & Moss Garden : Visit duration ?

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London
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Saihoji Temple & Moss Garden : Visit duration ?

When asking my travel agent about booking, she said "be prepared for up to two hours of LECTURE and copying Japanese WRITING before being allowed to see the garden".

Is this true ?

I just can't spare this amount of time.

Thanks,

Ramblesider

Tokyo and California
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for Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Shinjuku, Japan
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1. Re: Saihoji Temple & Moss Garden : Visit duration ?

It doesn't take two hours. When I was there, the lecture was about 20-25 minutes and Sutra coping took another 30-35 minutes. But Sutra coping is optional. People who didn't have time, especially foreigners, were excused and allowed to see the garden. I seriously doubt that many non natives can copy sutras even if they wanted to:

http://image.search.yahoo.co.jp/search?ei=UTF-8&fr=top_ga1_sa&p=写経

Sydney, Australia
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2. Re: Saihoji Temple & Moss Garden : Visit duration ?

We did this and yes, its not as easy as just rocking up, paying your entry fee and go visit the gardens (for our visit) BUT its part of the journey and well worth it and a story to tell others about.

We arrived, paid our fees, went to a hall/temple and thankfully we got the western seat/table to do our sutra coping. Its a 2 page document where you copy the chinese characters, after this you then gift it inside the temple with your wish/prayer and then you are allowed to visit the gardens.

I know the previous poster said tourists didnt have to do it but for our visit last May, we werent allowed to enter the gardens until it was done and every single person that was there did the writing.

My tips.

1. get there early so you can get a western seat/table.

2. dont worry about neatness. The characters you write are already on the paper so you only have to go over the lettering (cheat if you have to/to finish earlier as they are not checked).

3. Take a drink/sandwhich to eat while youre waiting for the gates to open

I think the writing and chants took about 30-40mins and the visit can be as fast as 20mins or as slow as an hour or two. You can do the entire thing in 2hrs if want.

San Francisco...
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3. Re: Saihoji Temple & Moss Garden : Visit duration ?

If you're really pressed for time, this might not be the place to go. The location is a bit of a walk from the nearest bus stop. So you should allow plenty of time to get there. Entry is at a specific pre-arranged time, and it might appear rude to rush through any of the required sutra copying. The experience is best if you aren't in a hurry. There are many other temples and shrines in Kyoto where you can show up anytime during open hours, which can be a timesaver.

By the way, if you decide to go, you need to reserve in advance.

Sydney, Australia
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4. Re: Saihoji Temple & Moss Garden : Visit duration ?

<,By the way, if you decide to go, you need to reserve in advance>>

True. I used these people to make our booking and tickets were at our hotel on checkin: www.saihoji-kokedera-reservation.com/about/

We took a taxi to the gardens, cost approx 2500yen but when we finished, there was a bus a short walk down the road that took us directly to Kyoto station. You can take public transport there but we didnt want to risk being late/getting lost as you are given a time for your booking and gates are locked until that time.

Again, all part of the journey to visit this place so its one we remember most fondly.

San Francisco...
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5. Re: Saihoji Temple & Moss Garden : Visit duration ?

You were smart to take a taxi! I took the bus, but got on the wrong bus and would have been late, except that a passenger helped me get to the right bus route.

And do accept the offer of a chair and table! I thought I'd be ok sitting on the floor, but that was a mistake!

Kyoto, Japan
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for Kobe, Kyoto
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6. Re: Saihoji Temple & Moss Garden : Visit duration ?

I have been here a few times with my guests and you can skip the part when everyone is copying the sutra. Just paint the little piece of wood with your wish or hope and address on it so "they" know where to deliver what you are asking for. Place those pieces of wood on the little table in front of the altar and then breeze through the garden or take your time.

We never waste our time painting the sutra papers because then we are able to get the garden to ourselves for about 15 or 20 minutes when it's quiet, relaxing and people-free for great photo opportunities.

You also get to leave earlier than the others so there are plenty of taxis waiting to whisk you away if you are pressed for time. I usually take my guests to Arashiyama after here. It's much better than taking the bus.

Good luck!

7. Re: Saihoji Temple & Moss Garden : Visit duration ?

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