As we drove through the Lake District, my Japanese friend was particularly taken by the dry stone walls which bounded every field. He was also impressed by the rich colour of the moss which is growing spectacularly in this warm, wet, winter covering every shaded surface. Sometimes the dry stone walls would, themselves, be covered in moss, creating a vivid verdant sculpture. This is how the moss would have looked at Koke-dera if we hadn’t visited it in the dry season. The Lakeland moss seems to have an extra dimension as it climbs up the trees as well as covering the ground. Because it’s everywhere we take it for granted, but the truth is we have a thousand Koke-dera’s right here on our doorstep – there really was no need for me to travel 6,000 miles to see a moss garden.