The garden has two floors; The upper floor is “Karesansui style garden”,
the lower floor is “Classical style garden” with path around a pond called Ogon-chi(Golden Pond).
The garden has been selected as one of Historic Sites and Places of Scenic Beauty by Government of Japan.
(The upper floor is not open to the public.)

Please come and enjoy the garden showing different faces of each of the five seasons(spring, rainy season, summer, fall and winter).
Due to lack of space we can not introduce all areas, but please also visit the areas that were not introduced on this page.


Also known as Sairaido, was reconstructed in 1969, by a famous professor from Kyōto University, Murata Jiro. The inner fusuma doors have 104 abstract paintings by Domoto Insho, Amitabha Tathaga is the main god of this building. Before visiting the garden, visitors will participate in religious rituals at the Hondo.

saihoji Hondōsaihoji Hondō


This is the main pond of this temple, and the center piece of the lower floor. Ogon-chi shapes like Chinese character “心(SHIN)” which means heart, and is also known as Shinji Ike.

saihoji Ougon Chisaihoji Ougon Chisaihoji Ougon Chi


This tea house is registered as a National Treasure, rebuilt by Sen-no-Shoan, the second son of Sen-no-Rikyu, during the Toyotomi Period. It is known for the Tsukimi-dai (moon watching area) in the north side. It is also said that Sen-no-Rikyu had used this building as a temporary hideout, when Toyotomi Hideyoshi ordered a hara-kiri. Iwakura Tomomi also used this teahouse, and succeeded in hiding from the shogunates during the Meiji Restoration.

saihoji Shōnanteisaihoji Shōnantei


A hall dedicated to the founding priest. Inside, there are statues of Saint Gyoki, Prince Shinnyoho, Muso Kokushi, Fujiwara Chikahide and his wife. (Not open to the public)

saihoji Shitōansaihoji Shitōan


The oldest Karesansui (a type of garden using only stones and rocks to express landscapes) in Japan, made by Muso Kokushi in 1339, which was originally made to be his own grave. The main idea of gardens made in those days was to have ponds, however Muso Kokushi decided to portray the spirituality of Zen through stones. This was a very innovative idea, and was said to be futuristic. This garden, became the inspiration to many other rock gardens, and is said to be Japan’s founder of rock-gardens. The garden itself has been regarded as a dojo for Zen spirit training, and Muso Kokushi’s enlightenment is here entrusted. (Not open to the public)

saihoji Karesansuisaihoji Karesansui

2020.3.3:”Winter Visit” from January to March in 2020 has ended.
Details on the future plans will be announced around October in 2020.

@Akira Nakata