Meigetsu-in Temple and Gardens

Founded in 1160 the Meigetsu-in temple is one of Kamakura’s most naturally stunning locations and a must visit stop of for anyone with a green thumb. The temple's garden well is in fact one of top sites listed in the celebrated Ten Wells of Kamakura, a list of officially recognised sacred sites located in the city. Of course although the temple itself is beautiful, the Meigetsu-in garden is what draws a majority of the visitors to the area. Also often referred to as Ajisaidera ("Hydrangea Temple"), Meigetsu-in grounds are overflowing with tall pastel purple-blue hydrangeas, which bloom in abundance during the warmer rainy months of June and July.

Meigetsu-in Temple and Gardens

Historically the temple was built as a repose, a place for rest and tranquility by Uesugi Norikata of the powerful Uesugi clan as a memorial for his father who had perished in the struggle of power between the Taira and Minamoto clans during the late Heian Period. The name of the temple is derived from Norikata's own posthumous name, Meigetsu. Over time the site because part of a larger temple complex called Zenkoji, however this was abolished during anti-Buddhist movements of the Meiji period, leaving just the individual temple of Meigetsu-in standing as it is today.

Meigetsu-in Temple and Gardens

If you head towards the Meigetsu-in's lush grounds, you come to the main hall. The building in this hall features a minimalistic circular window which works as a frame of sorts leading out onto the elusive inner garden that sits behind it. Famous for housing some spectacular irises, this secret garden is only open to visitors for two weeks twice a year. It’s first opened in June when the irises are in bloom, and in late November/ early December during the area’s koyo season where’s the garden’s transformative the autumn colors are at their best. The temple is open between 9am and 4pm, the entry fee is 300 (500 yen in June), and additional 500 yen is charged to see the garden.

Meigetsu-in Temple and Gardens

Symbolically the temple's name harbours a connection to the moon (in Japanese ‘Meigetsu’ literally means "bright moon". Because there’s also a Japanese folklore tale about a of a rabbit pounding a rice cake on the moon, the temple has also become regarded as a ‘rabbit temple’. As you work your way through the garden ground keep an eye out for the carefully crafted rabbit designs worked into the temple’s walls. Beyond the engravings there are also a few real rabbits that call the temple grounds home.

Meigetsu-in Temple and Gardens

The best way to get to the temple and garden is Kita-Kamakura station. If you’re travelling from Kamakura, take the JR Yokosuka or Shonan-Shinjuku Line heading to China for just one stop, the journey takes only three minutes and costs 140 yen each way. If you’re coming from Tokyo, you can ride the Shonan-Shinjuku Line from Shinjuku station or the Yokosuka line from Tokyo station. For those heading from Yokohama catch the Yokosuka line. From Kita-Kamakura Station Meigetsu-in an easy ten minute walk.

Meigetsu-in Temple and Gardens
Facility Name
Kamakura
Address
Kanagawa Pref. Kamakurashi Komachi 1-chome
Information Sources:
NAVITIME JAPAN
Facility Name
Meigetsu-in Temple
Address
Kanagawa Pref. Kamakurashi Yamanouchi 189
Phone
0467243437
Introduction
A Rinzai Kencho-ji Temple Buddhist temple located in Kamakura. The temple’s honorific mountain name is Fukugensan. The temple is also known as the Hydrangea Temple and during the rainy season the approach to the temple is covered with French hydrangea blossoms. The temple was once a sub-temple to the Zenko-ji Temple, but this temple was abolished in the early years of the Meiji period and now only the Meigetsu-in remains. A large circular window is built into the head priest’s chamber which gives a spectacular view of the garden. The window represents the cosmos and the mind and the unique view it provides has made it a popular subject for photographs.
Information Sources:
NAVITIME JAPAN
Facility Name
Kita-Kamakura
Address
Kanagawa Pref. Kamakurashi Yamanouchi
Information Sources:
NAVITIME JAPAN

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PLACES IN THIS ARTICLE

  • dummy image

    Kamakura

    Station
    Kanagawa Pref. Kamakurashi Komachi 1-chome
  • dummy image

    Kita-Kamakura

    Station
    Kanagawa Pref. Kamakurashi Yamanouchi
  • Meigetsu-in Temple image

    Meigetsu-in Temple

    Temple (Kannon/Fudo Myoo)
    Kanagawa Pref. Kamakurashi Yamanouchi 189
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