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Kamakura's temple of hydrangeas

The history of Meigetsu-in Temple

The history of Meigetsu-in Temple

After exiting the Kitakamakura station ticket gate on the Engakuji Temple side, follow the railroad until it splits. The left path leads to Meigetsu-in Temple. Along the way there is the art museum of Yoh Shomei on the left-hand side. About 300 meters beyond that you will find the front gate of Meigetsu-in Temple. Meigetsu-in Temple was originally a sub-temple of Zenkoji Temple.  Tokimune Hojo founded Zenkoji, and it ranked first in the 10 great temples of the Kanto area (eastern Japan), which are ranked below the Kamakura Gozan, during the Muromachi period.  Though the temple was eventually abolished in the early Meiji period, Meigetsu-in, the sub-temple, remained.

The grounds dyed blue in rainy season

The grounds dyed blue in rainy season

Kamakura is well-known for hydrangea flowers.  It is the first thing people think of when they hear, "Kamakura". Meigetsu-in Temple especially comes to mind, known specifically as "the temple of hydrangeas". In June, the alley connecting Kitakamakura station to the temple is packed with people who want to see the famous hydrangeas of the temple. The weekends are especially crowded. 80% to 90% of the hydrangea of Meigetsu-in are an original Japanese variety called hime-ajisai.  The blossoms are a little bit smaller compared to western hydrangeas, and are very cute.  Blue hydrangeas were purposefully planted, so they make the entire estate seem to be dyed a beautiful blue during the rainy season.

The circle window in autumn

The circle window in autumn

Meigetsu-in Temple is not only famous for hydrangea, but also for colored leaves in autumn.  They have more yellow leaves than red, but the precinct is still stunning. Kamakura is the city of samurai, but Meigetsu-in Temple is reminiscent of Kyoto.  It maybe related to the fact that the priest of Meigetsu-in was from Kyoto.

The garden behind the hojo

The garden behind the hojo

The garden is not regularly open to the public and only can be seen beyond the round window of the hojo(main building). However, entry is permitted during the blooming of hydrangeas and irises in early summer, and during the most colorful time of autumn.

The burial cave of Meigetsu-in

The burial cave of Meigetsu-in

Other places of interest within Meigetsu-in include the mausoleum of Tokiyori Hojo; one of the best ten wells in Kamakura, called Tsurube-no-i; and the biggest cave-style tomb, or yagura, in Kamakura, called Meigetsu-in Yagura. Yagura are horizontal tombs, which were well suited for cramped land such as Kamakura's, and serve as resting places for cremated samurai and high-ranking priests.

Information

Address: 189 Yamanouchi, Kamakura City
Phone: 0467-24-3437
Access:  A 10-minute walk from Kitakamakura station on the JR train line
Map : Google Map
Official Website: —

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