Several minutes north of Nisonin Temple is the third of the three temples in western Kyoto that I visited in rapid succession. Its name is Gioji Temple and it felt the most hidden-away of the three, being located the furthest from the crowds that surge through other parts of Arashiyama.
Gioji Temple temple’s main attraction is its moss garden, which combined with the other vegetation on the temple grounds makes Gioji the greenest temple you’ll ever see. According to legend, the temple’s name comes from a woman named Gio, who used to be a dancer but became a nun and retired here after being rejected by one of the nobles in the Imperial Court.
On the temple grounds is a small thatched-roof hut that serves as Gioji Temple’s main hall. Inside the hut you can take a break and enjoy the view of the moss garden.