At the beginning, the site was occupied by a private villa, which was later transformed into a Jodo sect temple. In 1339 a renowned Zen priest and garden designer Muso Soseki accepted a proposition to reconstruct the temple. Muso Soseki was an admirer of nature and gardens. He refused the rational interpretation of gardens and preferred direct understanding through meditation. He wrote that the garden can help to reach enlightenment. The garden of Saiho-ji has two levels. The lower level garden is a stroll garden with a pond, three islands and bridges, soil covered with moss surrounded by a winding path. The upper section of the garden features a “dry waterfall” which is probably the first expression in Japanese garden design of what became known as a “kare-sansui” or “dry garden”. Saiho-ji is one of Kyoto’s World Heritage Sites.