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明月院(あじさい寺) Meigetsuin (Hydrangea Temple)

  • Buildings (Temples / Shrines / Cathedrals)
  • Around Kamakura
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Around Kamakura
189 Yamanochi, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa 247-0062, Japan
  • Buildings (Temples / Shrines / Cathedrals)
Opening Hours
9:00-16:00 (June 8:30-17:00)
Open Every Day
Date of post:2015/06/12

Beautiful Hydrangea temple!

  • Temple / Shrine

Meigetsu-In is nicknamed for Ajisaidera Temple, or Hydrangea Temple. As suggested in the name, in June as many as 2500 hydrangeas decorate the ground of the temple, which draws many visitors. Most of the species here is called Hime-ajisai, which is indigenous to Japan, and the colour is mainly blue. In the beginning of the bloom, the colours are pale blue, but as time goes the colour gets more vivid. Although the rainy season occasionally lets people down, the flowers return to their original colour when they are wet, and makes them more beautiful.

Also during the same season, Japanese irises are in full bloom. You need to pay an extra admission fee for the iris garden, but it’s worth visiting and I recommend you look at the garden as long as you are here. Autumn is also a nice season to visit this temple. The changing colour of momiji, or maple leaves is stunning.

Originally this temple was a sub temple attached to the main one called Zenkoji, which was ruined and doesn’t exist now, but Meigetu-in Temple remained. For that reason, it’s not a big temple but located in Kita-Kamakura (North Kamakura area), it’s a popular sightseeing spot along with Kenchoji-Temple.

Meigetsu-In is a temple of the Hojo family, which was the regent for the shogun of the Kamakura period in the 12th and the 13th century, and there are tombs of the family members in the grounds.

Actually the history as a hydrangea temple is not very old which dates back after World WarⅡ. It’s said that they were planted for the reason that they are easy to grow in spite of lack of people who can take care of them.

The thing which is popular regardless of the season, you can enjoy a dry landscape garden, a time-honoured well, a bamboo garden and a round window called "the window of enlightenment" at the main hall where you can see the small universe (actually the garden) from here. Another feature of Yagura, or an alcove for tombs here is said to be the biggest one in Kamakura.

During the season for hydrangea, there are lots of visitors, but the gate is open from 8 am, so if you are an early bird, or even if not, you can try to wake up a bit earlier than usual and visit this temple in the morning.

Opening hours: 9:00-16:00 (8:30-17:00 in June)
Price: Adult ¥300 (JPY) / ¥500 (JPY) (in June)
Child: ¥300 (JPY)
Iris garden: Adult/Child ¥500 (JPY)

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