The temple is reported as founded during the Nara Period (710 - 794 A.D.) It was later restored in the 12th century. There is both the moss garden and a dry garden. There are supposed to be about 120 kinds of moss here!
The number of visitors is strictly limited to protect the moss underfoot. Before entering the garden you join the other visitors in the hall where you listen to the monks chant a sutra, during which you copy the sutra using the supplies at each place. Once the monks have finished chanting wait a decent interval and then offer what you have copied to the monks. Be sure to bow.
To visit the Saihoji/Moss Temple you must make reservations by mail, writing to the temple at least 10 days in advance. Write to Saihoji Temple, 56 Jigatani-cho, Matsuo, Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto 615-8286. (tel. 075/391-3631) and give your name, your address in Japan, your age, your occupation, and the date you'd like to visit (plus 2nd and 3rd choices).