Miss Moss

moss garden kyotoThree years ago today, 5th April 2010. It was a day of firsts.

I woke up in Kyoto. My first day of being a fiancée.

It was the first time I felt the thrill of being able to decipher and order a meal on a hiragana-only menu:

kitsune udon

And my first visit to a proper moss garden, something I had always wanted to do.  This one was pretty special: the Saiho-ji Temple and Moss Garden.moss garden saiho-ji kyotoThe garden is notoriously hard to gain access to; for our ticketed, timed entry we had to write and ask permission a month in advance. On our arrival in Kyoto, the man at the front desk presented us with a ticket and a calligraphy pen. In order to get through to the moss garden, we were required to complete a contemplative activity of tracing a page of Buddhist sutras.

Moss garden pond It was a green paradise. Stones and little rivers and trees and paths were completely surrounded by moss. elaine shoes Please note what J calls my "Elaine shoes".saiho-ji kyoto moss The moss was not in the original (1400s) design of the garden, which was intended to be a minimalist zen garden of sand and rock. For many years it was just that, and then due to flooding and lack of funds for the monastery's upkeep in the 1800s, the moss began its quiet takeover.moss macro Moss river

For three years now I have wanted to grow a mini moss garden at home, but have not been able to find moss for sale anywhere. I guess you just need to buy a log, keep it out in the rain and hope for the best.