Koke-dera (Moss Temple)
56 Matsuojingatanichō, Nishikyō-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 615-8286, Japan
Photo by John Lander/age fotostock
Koke-dera (Moss Temple)It’s said that the human eye can see more shades of green than any other color. Put the theory to the test at the Koke-dera, or Moss Temple, a veritable spectrum of jades, mints, artichokes, emeralds, and olives. The UNESCO World Heritage site, formally known as Saihoji, is home to around 120 types of moss, which carpet the temple ground’s forested floor in ways Akira Kurosawa couldn’t have dreamed up. Reservations to the temple must be made by snail mail months in advance in Japanese. After arrival, visitors are also asked to participate in Koke-Dera’s religious activities by observing kito and shakyo (respectively, the chanting and copying of Buddhist scriptures, called sutra).