We had the great opportunity to visit Koinzan Saihoji, better known as Kokedera (Moss Temple), a Unesco World Heritage Site, in Kyoto in December 2013. There are characteristics that cause this temple to stand out among all of the others that you will visit while in Japan. First, this Zen Temple provided us with a unique chance to visit a temple in Japan where we actually took part in a religious ceremony by observing and, depending on your level of Japanese, participating in a chant that was led by three monks in the main temple. This experience was just mesmerizing and left me feeling very at peace, even without being able to follow along with the written chant provided as I do not speak Japanese, let alone read Hiragana. The full text, for those that can read Hiragana, is at the bottom of this post.
What was exceptionally breathtaking about this temple was the large and lush Moss Garden. Even in Winter, the garden was beautiful and I am sure it is even more stunning in Spring, Summer or Fall.
The following pictures need no explanation:
Here is the full text of the chant: