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Making Houkokuji a temple of moss!

Hokokuji Temple is one of the most representative temples in Kamakura, and is best known for its beautiful bamboo groves.

In fact, it is also the temple with a wonderful moss garden, and it is always mentioned in books and other publications about moss in Kamakura.

In recent years, however, much of the moss has died, and a large part of the garden is covered with Marchantia moss (Known as "undesirable" moss).

Houkokuji Temple wanted to take good care of the moss throughout the temple, and we were asked to take charge of the moss management.

The project is being carried out with the aim of making Hokokuji Temple a "Bamboo and Moss Hokokuji Temple" instead of a "Bamboo Hokokuji Temple"!

To maintain the beauty of the moss, daily leaf removal, regular weed control and Marchantia management are essential.

The daily removal of fallen leaves is not done by us, but by the gardener.

Weeds do not grow as much in a well maintained moss garden.

With less weeding, the whole garden is much less labour intensive.

Marchantia moss is also a moss plant, but it is not considered beautiful in Japanese gardens and is considered better without it.

Perhaps because the Marchantia mosses are so well adapted to the Kamakura environment, the Machanita mosses often out-compete other "desirable" mosses and cause trouble for gardeners.

While these mosses are small in number, they can be removed with tweezers, but as they spread they become completely unmanageable.

Areas where the moss has died or is covered with Marchantia are re-covered with moss.

The process is carried out in two ways: in areas where the moss is replaced, and in areas where it is dealt with by making the most of the native moss.

Areas withered due to strong sunlight (beforere-covering)

2 years after re-covering

Simply planting moss is not difficult. Just place a sheet of moss and it will look finished.

However, there are many problems in maintaining moss for a long period of time.

・Moles (very common in Kamakura) make holes all over the place.

・Ravaged by birds and animals.

・Moss blown away by blowers (which blow away fallen leaves).

・Damaged by disease.

・Trampled by people.

・Weeds and Marchantia invasion.

Even if you plant the right moss for the environment, there are so many problems (in fact, there are more) that it is our job to plant moss that meets these challenges.

And so far it has worked very well.

It is almost three years since we started this project.

Keeping the moss in a beautiful state clearly changes the reaction of visitors to the temple.

Many of them look down and take pictures of the small moss, even though there is a magnificent bamboo tree next to it! We hear comments like "the moss is so beautiful" from all over.

We are very pleased to hear this.

Compared to lawns, moss gardens require more initial investment and some management.

However, moss itself has a beauty that lawns do not have, and has the power to enhance the attractiveness of the landscape.

Kamakura is a blessed environment where moss grows easily, so I would like people to make use of this power of moss.

And I would like to see the appeal of this moss garden spread throughout the world.


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