Hakone Moss Garden - Museum of Art(箱根美術館)

The moss garden of the Hakone Museum is a small mysterious landscape. Under 200 maple trees, small stone paths are winding through fields of moss. The climate of the Hakone mountains is perfect for the moss. During the rain season between June and July, the moss gets plenty of water to thrive, and the dappled shade of the momiji (紅葉, Japanese for maple tree) makes sure it gets enough light to be a bright green, but does not get burned by the strong Japanese summer sun. There are over 130 varieties of moss in the garden.

There is also a small Chinese bamboo garden and a Japanese landscape garden. You can have tea in the tea house Shinwatei (真和亭).

The museum was established in 1952 by Okada Mokichi(岡田茂吉, 1882-1955), a collector of Asian art. There is earthenware pottery from the Jomon period (13.000BC to 300BC) until the Edo period (1603-1868) on display.

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Directions

How to get there
A fast and uncomplicated way to get to the Hakone area is to take the Odakyu Bus from Shinjuku station in Tokyo. It leaves every 30 minutes and it takes around 2 hours under good traffic conditions. Get off at Togendai and get on the Hakone Ropeway, go to the last stop, Sounzan and change to the cute red Hakone Tozan Cable car. You can choose to either get off at Koenkami station and walk three minutes or go to Gora Station and walk uphill for ten minutes.

Another nice option is to take the Odakyu Railway ‘Romance Car’ from Shinjuku station to Hakone-Yumoto station. It takes about 90 minutes and costs 2020 Yen. From Hakone-Yumoto, you can get on the Hakone Tozan cable car and to Gora station and walk from there.

Admission
900 Yen

Opening hours
April-November: 9:30am to 4:30pm
December-March: 9:30am to 4:00pm

The garden is closed on every Thursday (except for November), and between December 25th and 31st and January 4th and 7th.

Address
EN: 1300 Gora, Hakone-machi Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa 〒250-0408
JP: 〒250-0408 神奈川県足柄下郡箱根町強羅1300

Telephone
(0460)82-2623

[Bundle] Kyoto’s Most Famous Gardens   (京都名庭園)

Buy a bundle of eBooks about Kyoto’s most famous gardens!

This bundle contains our guide books about the Kinkaku-ji temple, the Ginkaku-ji temple, Ryoan-ji and the moss temple Saiho-ji.
You will find four single pdf files in the downloads, featuring one garden in each book, each worth $4.95. You will save $1.80 with buying all together.

This bundle contains four volumes of the most famous Japanese gardens. These are:

Kinkaku-ji

  • Introduction
  • Historical Background
  • History of the Temple and the Garden
  • Buildings and Garden
  • Jenny’s impressions
  • Questions for Hayano-San
  • Eating and Drinking
  • Directions
  • 11 pages
  • 19 illustrations
  • 17 MB

 

Ginkaku-ji

  • Introduction
  • Historical Background – The Muromachi period
  • and Ashikage Yoshimasa
  • History of the temple and the Garden
  • Buildings and garden
  • Jenny’s impressions
  • Omiyage from Kyoto
  • How to get there
  • 10 pages
  • 30 illustrations
  • 11 MB

 

Ryoan-ji

  • Introduction
  • History of the temple
  • The Rock Garden of Ryoan-ji
  • Around the Rock Garden
  • Sub temples of Ryōan-ji
  • Around the pond
  • How to get there
  • Other temples near Ryoanji
  • 15 pages
  • 37 illustrations/pictures
  • 30 MB

 

Saiho-ji

  • History of the temple
  • Buildings of the temple
  • Musō Soseki’s Garden Philosophy
  • The Moss
  • The Lower Garden
  • The Upper Garden
  • Jenny’s impressions
  • Registration process
  • How to get there
  • Literature
  • 18 pages
  • 84 illustrations
  • 19.3 MB
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Moss in the Japanese Garden(苔)

Moss is one of the signature plants of Japanese gardens. Given the right conditions, it can cover large areas in a garden, it grows on stone lanterns, trees, garden stones. The Japanese climate fits perfectly to the plant’s needs: Japan is surrounded by the sea, which provides a general humid climate in spring, summer, and autumn. Between mid-June and early July, the rainy season drenches the naturally acidic soil.

The reason moss grows on nearly every available surface is in its biological structure. If the air humidity is 80% or higher, the leaves are able to absorb humidity and nutrients directly from the air. So what looks like roots are actually the plant’s holdfast. Moss prefers a nutrient-poor soil, too many nutrients can damage the plant. That is why it thrives in places where flowering plants have a hard time to survive. Moss is also an air cleaner. It absorbs pollutants like nitrates and ammonia.

Although Japan has a long rain season, rain isn’t actually necessary for moss to thrive. More important than the average annual rainfall is the air humidity. And even without rain, moss can also survive periods of drought. Although the leaves may seem dead, the plant is still alive and the leaves will return to their green color after watering.

Contents of the eBook
    • Moss in Japanese gardens
    • Introduction
    • Koke – Mosses and liverworts
    • Moss
    • Sugi-goke
    • Ōsugi-goke
    • Haihiba-goke
    • Kotsubo-goke
    • Hai-goke
    • Mizu-goke
    • Suna-goke
    • Zeni-goke
    • Ja-goke
 
    • Famous moss gardens
    • Saihō-ji aka Koke-dera, the moss temple in Kyoto (西芳寺、苔寺)
    • Gyokudo Art Museum, Mitake, Tokyo (玉堂美術館)
    • Nezu Art Museum, Tokyo (根津美術館)
    • Hakone Museum of Art, Hakone (箱根美術館)
 
  • Establishing moss in your garden
  • Moss Maintenance


18 pages 45 beautiful moss pictures

The eBook is delivered as PDF.

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Moss in the Japanese Garden Trailer
Watch the Moss trailer here.

Customer’s Voice

This is a fascinating little book. I love visiting temples but my kids hate them so I don’t go very often. When I do go I just love the mossy sections so when I saw this book I decided to read it.

I had no idea there were so many varieties of moss and that it can grow in such varied conditions. To be honest I thought moss was some kind of naturally occurring thing but I’ve since learned it can be planted in the same manner as any other plant. I’m contemplating growing some moss in my own garden now!

The book is an easy but interesting read. Very detailed and clear photographs. Great explanations of the names in English and Japanese as well as the botanical names will make it easy to find these at my local garden centre.

I’m planning a trip to Kyoto later this month so will be looking to see which other books I can read. The gardens are most definitely my favourite part of a temple visit.

J.M.

Jizō-in  (地蔵院)

Jizō-in is a really small temple with great atmosphere. Just a few minutes away from Saihō-ji, the moss temple, it is overlooked by most tourists. It was built as a temple of the Buddhist Rinzai school in 1367 by Hosokawa Yoriyuki, the founding priest was Musō Soseki. Like most of Kyoto’s temples and palaces, it was destroyed in the fires of the Ōnin war between 1467-77. During the Edo period (1603-1868), it was re-built.

The temple is also called bamboo temple, or take-no-tera (竹の寺). The approach to the temple is unique: A bamboo grove grows around the temple and creates a mysterious atmosphere. The main hall has a beautiful small garden with several Jizo stone sculptures. Since there are few visitors, it is the perfect spot to sit and contemplate while looking at the old garden.

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Directions

How to get there
Jizō-in is situated close to Saihō-ji, the moss temple, in the picturesque Arashiyama mountains to the west of Kyoto. Although you need to change trains, it is not very complicated to get there. First get to Katsura station by taking the Hankyu Kyoto line. In Katsura, change to the cute trains of the Hankyu Arashiyama line to get to Matsu-o station. From there, you can take bus 78 to get to Koke-dera. After that, it is only a short walk to the temple.

You can also go directly from Kyoto station with bus 28 until Matsuo-Taisha-mae and walk around 15 min in southern direction. From the Sanjō station of the Keihan line, you can take bus 63 to the final stop ‘Koke-dera’.

Opening hours
9am to 4:30pm

Telephone
075-391-3631

Admission
500 Yen

Sanzen-in  (三千院)

Sanzen-in is the main attraction of Ohara, a small village north of Kyoto. It was founded 806 by the monk Saicho that brought introduced the Tendai school of Buddhism to Japan.
It has a moss garden that can be admired from the Shinden. Around the garden are several small stone head sitting in the moss. Their faces are laughing, that is why they are called Warai-jizo (笑い地蔵 – Laughing Buddhas). The best season for this garden is definitely autumn. The leaf changing in Owara starts usually a little earlier than in Kyoto.

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Directions

How to get there
From Kyoto station, take the Ohara line bus towards Ohara (大原). It takes a little more than 1 hour to get to Ohara. Since Sanzen-in is the most popular temple in Ohara, it is easy to find. Just walk 600 meters east.

Opening times
8:30am – 5pm

Admission
600 yen

Address
左京区大原来迎院町540
Sakyo-ku, Ohara Raigouin-cho 540

Giō-ji  (祇王寺)

This temple in Kyoto’s lovely Sagano district has a small moss garden. Surrounded by dense trees, it is a very quiet and relaxed place.
In autumn, when the leaves change, it is especially beautiful.

The temple is also mentioned in the Japanese classic Heike Monogatari (Tale of the Heike). The dancer Gio retreated to this temple after a powerful leader of the Taira-clan ended the relationship with her. Wooden statues of her, her mother and sister and Taira-no-Kiyomori ass displayed in the temple.

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Directions

How to get there
From Kyoto station, take the JR Sanin Main line towards Sonobe (園部) from platform 32, 33. Get off after 16 minutes at the sixth stop Saga-arashiyama (峨嵐山).
If you prefer to go by bus, take the Kyoto city bus No. 28 or Kyoto bus No. 71 (for Daikaku-ji, 大覚寺) from Kyoto main station and get off after 50 minutes at Saga-Shakado-mae.

From there, walk about 20 minutes towards the west.

Opening times
9am – 5pm

Admission
500 yen

Address
〒616-8435 京都府京都市右京区嵯峨鳥居本小坂町32

Hōgon-in (Tenryū-ji)  (宝厳院)

Hōgon-in is a sub-temple of Tenryū-ji temple and was first built in 1461 in the middle of Kyoto (now Kamigyo ward).
It burnt down during the Onin War and was rebuilt later.
In Meiji period, it was moved to its present location in Arashiyama next to Tenryū-ji temple.
Hosokawa Yoriyuki had the temple wished to build by Muso Soseki. It was actually constructed by 3rd generation Seichūeikō after his death.

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Directions

How to get there

・Take the JR Saga Line (JR嵯峨野線) to Saga-Arashiyama Station (嵯峨嵐山駅) with 8min walk.
・Take Keifuku-Arashiyama Line (京福電気鉄道嵐山本線) to Arashiyama Station (嵐山) with 5min walk.
・Kyoto Bus (京都バス) Number 71 and 72 to Keifuku-Arashiyama Station (京福嵐山駅前).
・City Bus (市バス) Number 28 to Arashiyama-Tenryū-ji Mae (嵐山天龍寺前).

Follow the road to Tenryū-ji entrance, but go to the left over the parking lot before entering the temple.
Hōgon-in lies to the right side.

Opening times
9:00am – 5:00pm
Opens twice a year.
Next opening: Oct 5 – Nov 8 2019.

Admission fee
500 Yen

Address
京都府京都市右京区嵯峨天竜寺芒ノ馬場町36
Kyoto, Ukyo-ku, Saga-tenryu-ji-susukinobaba-cho 36

Saihō-ji (Koke-dera)  (西芳寺 (苔寺))

The garden of Saihō-ji is acclaimed by many as Kyoto’s most beautiful garden and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage. It is especially famous for its moss garden, for which reason it is also commonly known as Moss temple or Koke-dera (苔寺).

In 1339, the famous Zen monk Musō Soseki became the head priest of the temple and remodeled the garden. For him, creating gardens was part of his zen meditation routine. He founded a lot of temples and built or remodeled their gardens, but Saihō-ji is clearly his masterpiece.

Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu (1358-1408, 足利義満) sat here in meditation in the upper part of the garden commemorating the garden’s creator Musō Soseki. Yoshimitsu’s grandson shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa (1435-1490, 足利善政) loved this garden so much that he modeled his own retreat, the Temple of the Silver Pavillion – Ginkaku-ji (銀閣寺), after Saihō-ji. Famous monks of different Buddhist sects have been head priests of the temple – namely Kūkai (774-835), Hōnen (1133-1212) and Musō Soseki (1275-1351). During the Edo period the temple fell into disrepair. It must have been at this time that moss slowly encroached the garden until it covered all of it. Today, there are roughly 120 types of moss in the garden.

The best times to view the garden are during the rainy season (mid-June until mid-July) and in autumn, when the red and orange of the maple’s leafs contrast nicely with the lush green of the velvety moss.

Contents
History of the temple
Buildings of the temple
Musō Soseki’s Garden Philosophy
The Moss
The Lower Garden
The Upper Garden
Jenny’s impressions
Registration process
How to get there
Literature

18 pages
84 illustrations
19.3 MB
2012

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Directions

How to get there
Saihō-ji is situated in the picturesque Arashiyama mountains to the west of Kyoto. Although you need to change trains, it is not very complicated to get there. First get to Katsura station by taking the Hankyu Kyoto line. In Katsura, change to the cute trains of the Hankyu Arashiyama line to get to Matsu-o station. From there, you can take a bus to get to Koke-dera (it says so big in big letters on the front of the bus). After that, it is only a short walk to the temple.

You can also go directly from Kyoto station with bus 28 until Matsuo-Taisha-mae and walk around 15 min in southern direction. From the Sanjō station of the Keihan line, you can take bus 63
to the final stop ‘Koke-dera’.

Address
Saihō-ji Temple
56 Jingatani-cho
Matsuo Nishikyo-ku
Kyoto, 615-8286, Japan

京都府京都市
西京区松尾神ヶ谷町56

Telephone
075-391-3631

Admission
Visiting the temple and its garden is only possible with previous registration by a return postcard (往復ハガキ).
You will be told on the return post card a time and date when visiting is possible. The entrance fee is 3.000 Yen.