Kyoto Saihoji/Kokedera temple introduce a New Booking Rule Nov, 2023 - Online application become more convenient

Kyoto Saihoji/Kokedera temple introduce a New Booking Rule Nov, 2023 - Online application become more convenient

New Online booking from Nov 2023

can apply and pay online! but...

You love Kyoto and been there many times? Have you ever visited Saihoji temple?

Some say it is a hype as you can not visit there without the prior application.


It used to be only with the letter application where we help therewith.

In Covid pandemic, the temple introduced the online application for one or two people group with a higher entrance fee.

The huge disadvantage was you could only apply just between one day before and 2 weeks before (as of August, 2023). 


From 2023 November, the temple announced it will change the application rules.  Basically the new rules will improve the online application.


But there an unknown factor remains. The website says the online applicants can enjoy the special slots reserved for "Saihokai (club)". We will explain what this club is as we know as of now in the below section.


It is a big change if you are one person or a grope of two planning to apply. You will be able to apply 2 months before like the paper letter application. The website site says you can also pay online in advance.


That sounds so great.


If you can do, please try the new online application without us :)


(Updated Sept 2023) Now we found Saihokai IS in fact a type fanclub which charges you every year like 10000JPY-15000JPY which is far more than normal music group fanclub. And they reduced the simple paper base application menu and try to convince you to go for online application. You can only apply for 2 people slot (up to 5 ppl possible till the end of Oct, 2023) so if you are 5 people or so, you need to apply separately risking other members may not be able to join.

And as you see on their official site, there are more service menus Nichinichi tour and Oriori tour etc. And the temple has the nice looking website which runs animation and video.



Not sure if they hired some business consultant to come up with all this, many people would be a bit confused.

It made everything far more complicating for everyone not only people outside Japan but also Japanese in Japan.  And the beautiful website is so slow to open and hard to look. The old website was much simpler and easy.


We love Saihoji/kokedera temple so we are hoping all the best for the temple but the temple may need to think harder to make things far simpler as their image being simple and beautiful. As far as now, the temple is becoming some typical Japanese business which has very confusing menu and unreasonably expensive price for something it has little value (the Saihokai club which may turn to be great, who knows..) but seems to have paid huge amount for the not so good business consultant to make things worse.


We love this temple is trying new directions, but we are worried for where it is going to.. We can see the near future there will be many complaints then the temple will change menu and rules again and again which will cause even more confusion for all, and their image will go down.

what is saihokai (club)?

Fanclub for temple?

The official website says the online applicants can enjoy the special slots reserved "ONLY" for "Saihokai (club)".


This makes us worry if you want to apply online, you may need to be a member of this "Saihokai club".


The temple says it will launch Saihokai (club) from Sept, 2023. From what we see, it looks like some online community you need to join to be member of. Then the club sends you some "member only information" and you can also purchase "special items"...


We will see what it will be and how you can join if you are interested.

We are very excited about it while a bit also worried, as many in Japan complaining about the commercialism of temple and shrine.. We are hoping for the best! 


We hope the online application remains open for non-Saihokai member (like a normal tourist like you) too.

The temple may read this article and may change their direction for you and all tourists who simply want to visit one of the greatest gardens in the world.


When we find out more, we may update you with more info!


(UPDATE!) As of Sept, 2023, we found out more about the Saihokai club. It is a paid membership like Fanclub, you pay 10,000JPY for one year and then, after the first year, you pay 15,000JPY every year. You can find out from the official website


If you are interested to join the temple Saihokai club, we "may" provide the proxy service as long as the conditions met.

we still help you with paper application

if you are 3 or more people in group, still paper application? No, you cannot!

So we hope everyone can apply via the new online application but so far as far as we see, the online application is still limited to the single person or 2 people group and not even sure if you can get a seat if you are not a member of Saihokai club..


An experience with Saihoji temple - Kokedera temple.  If you are a group of 3 or bigger, not wanting to going through the hassle with online registration, we can still help you.


This is how we help. First you send the letter with your preferred date with a return stamp on another letter.


With the new application rule effective in Nov, 2023, you must apply between 1 month and 2 month before your preferred date. Some people contacting us just 2 weeks before the date. It will be impossible to deal with from now. You need to contact us 2 month before or at least 1.5 month before your preferred date.


On the return the letter, the temple tells you which date you can attend. You are supposed to bring a calligraphy pen (called "Fude-pen") because you need to copy the sacred letters of Buddhism on your visit. 


In popular season, there are around 140 attendees.


With the pen you bring, you copy the sacred letters of Buddhism on your visit (at the end of the writing, you can write your wish) and you pay 4000JPY (3000JPY till Oct, 2023) or more (34USD or so).


After this, you can walk around the temple with the great garden full of moss. It may be 30-50mins walk (around 1km).


If you use our service, with the service fee of 60USD, we will prepare the necessary doc and send them to the temple to see if the seat is available. This does NOT include the entry fee of temple (3000JPY(4000JPY from Nov, 2023) per person)


You need to give us

1) three - four candidate dates (we can not specify the time).

2) Your name

3) how many in total to visit ( up to 5 people (till the end of Oct, 2023 after which you can only apply for two people max by paper as well as online) and if more, you need to consult us to communicate with the temple)

4) Your home address (not a hotel in Japan) and Tel. no

5) Your hotel address in Japan (to put on the application letter to receive the result directly from the temple, or if you wish us to send the temple response in Japan) 


The easiest process to get the reply is that you inform your place of stay to receive the result directly from the temple, then you can call up the place of your stay to see if positive or not if you are curious. This is the fastest and cheapest.


Another way is we get the result and if positive, we can send it to your place of stay. You still need to inform the place of your stay about the result coming. We will send the entry permit or other reply from the temple to your hotel in Japan by the letter with tracking usually 5USD, or EMS to your home in overseas usually 30-40USD.


Be careful if your stay is AirBnB or so. They can not receive the result letter. So you must inform and get an okay from the place of your stay.


Our tip: Spring (March and April) Autumn (late Oct to Nov) are the extremely busy seasons so you must submit your request at least 2 months before.

Actually there is more change...

from Nov, 2023, all need to pay 4000JPY or more to enter

With everything becoming more expensive all over the world, the temple also wants to increase its entrance fee. It will be 4000JPY per person even for the letter applicants.

Check the official website for more information!

You can find out more on the official website. We are not always up to date about the information. If anything different in the information, the official information always prevails and you need to contact the temple if anything unclear. 

Please respect others and all

In Japan, with more tourists visiting, we hear almost everyday on bad news about some tourists making problems here and there exp. at temples and shrines, and in the public places.


Engraving or writing something on the properties of these places. We all know it is not everyone but even when a couple of people did this type of act, people here would sadly tend to think almost all tourists are acting like this..

MAybe better if only online application...?

we know the temple also wants to care about as many peole as possible..

We know the temple wants to care about the people who can not use internet so it keeps the paper base application. Yet, it is better if the temple decides if going 100% digital or not.

It only confuses the applicants. We are aware of the pain points the temple faces with so many paper applications due to the huge increase in the tourist numbers in 2023. 


We anyway love the Saihoji temple garden. It is the amazing place to visit !

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