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Meigetsuin Temple (明月院) is a temple of the Rinzai Zen Sect founded in 1160 in Kamakura. It is also known as Ajisaidera ("Hydrangea Temple") because hydrangeas bloom in abundance on the temple grounds during the rainy season around June. 95% of the hydrangeas here are of the Hime Ajisai ("Princess Hydrangea") variety; they are thus named because of their pretty blue colors.

The temple was originally a repose built by a son in memory of his father who had died in the struggle for power between the Taira and Minamoto clans in the late Heian Period. It later became part of a larger temple complex called Zenkoji, which was abolished during anti-Buddhist movements soon after the Meiji Restoration, leaving only Meigetsuin to remain as an individual temple today.

In the back of Meigetsuin's lush temple grounds stands the main hall (Hojo). The building features a nice circular window, which frames the scenery of the inner garden behind it. The inner garden is known for its irises and is open to visitors only during two periods of about two weeks per year: in June when the irises are in bloom, and in late November/early December when the autumn colors are at their best. An additional admission fee applies.

Also of interest is the founder's hall (Soyudo), a thatched roof building that enshrines the temple's founder and stores mortuary tablets of the succeeding head priests. Next to the hall is a cave (Yagura) that was dug into the side of the hill many centuries ago. The cave served as a tomb and is among the largest of multiple such caves found in the hills around Kamakura.

Due to the temple's name's connection to the moon (Meigetsu literally means "bright moon"; and phonetically can also mean "harvest moon"), rabbits are associated with it in relation to the Japanese folklore of a rabbit pounding a rice cake on the moon. Accordingly, rabbit designs are found on some of the temple's decorations, while a few real rabbits are kept in cages on the temple grounds.

Getting there and around

Meigetsuin can be reached in a ten minute walk from Kita-Kamakura Station.

How to get to and around Kamakura

Hours and Fees

Hours

Closed

Admission

Hotels around Kamakura

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    • CASA Kamakura Espresso PUB&BED
      Budget-friendly
      Situated in Kamakura, 400 metres from Yuigahama Beach, CASA Kamakura Espresso PUB&BED features rooms with air conditioning and free WiFi. The property is around 2.8 km from Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, 2.1 km from Zeniarai Benzaiten and 5 km from Engaku-ji Temple. Gokuraku-ji Temple is less than 1 km away and Riviera Zushi Marina is 3.4 km from the guest house. The rooms have a private bathroom, slippers and bed linen. The guest house offers a ? la carte or American breakfast. Guests at CASA Kamakura Espresso PUB&BED will be able to enjoy activities in and around Kamakura, like hiking. Popular points of interest near the accommodation include Zaimokuza Beach, Hasedera Temple and Great Buddha. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda International Airport, 55 km from CASA Kamakura Espresso PUB&BED.
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    • Guest House Irodori Kamakura
      Budget-friendly
      Guest House Irodori Kamakura is set in Kamakura, 1.3 km from Hasedera Temple and 1.5 km from Zeniarai Benzaiten. With a shared lounge, the 1-star guest house has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a shared bathroom. The accommodation offers a 24-hour front desk, a shared kitchen and organising tours for guests. At the guest house, all rooms have a desk. All guest rooms will provide guests with a microwave. Guests at Guest House Irodori Kamakura can enjoy an Asian or a vegetarian breakfast. The accommodation offers a sun terrace. Guests at Guest House Irodori Kamakura will be able to enjoy activities in and around Kamakura, like cycling. Popular points of interest near the guest house include Yuigahama Beach, Zaimokuza Beach and Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda International Airport, 54 km from Guest House Irodori Kamakura.
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    • Guesthouse Kamakura Rakauan
      Budget-friendly
      Boasting a garden, Guesthouse Kamakura Rakauan is set in Kamakura in the Kanagawa region, 150 metres from Yuigahama Beach and 1 km from Zaimokuza Beach. With free WiFi, this 1-star hostel offers a shared kitchen and a shared lounge. The accommodation offers babysitting service and luggage storage space for guests. All guest rooms come with air conditioning, a microwave, a fridge, a kettle, a shower, a hairdryer and a desk. The units feature a shared bathroom, free toiletries and bed linen. Guests at the hostel will be able to enjoy activities in and around Kamakura, like hiking and cycling. Popular points of interest near Guesthouse Kamakura Rakauan include Hasedera Temple, Great Buddha and Gokuraku-ji Temple. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda International Airport, 56 km from the accommodation.
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    • Kamakura Guest House
      Budget-friendly
      Nestled a 10-minute walk away from Shonan-Fukasawa Monorail Station, traditionally-built Kamakura Guest House offers free WiFi in public areas. A shared fully-equipped kitchen and shower rooms are on site. JR Kamakura Station is located 1.5 km away from the guest house. There is a bar and 2 shower rooms on site. There are no bath towels, but hairdryers are available. The property also offers bicycle hire for a convenient way to explore the city. For guests' convenience, luggage storage is offered on the day guests check in and out. Rooms are air-conditioned and the common room features an irori, a traditional Japanese hearth (from October to March), where guests can experience cooking fish the traditional way. Meals are not offered at the property - guests can either dine at restaurants near the property or purchase food from a convenience store or supermarket.
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    • Zen Vague
      Budget-friendly
      Featuring a fitness centre, garden and views of garden, Zen Vague is located in Kamakura, 100 metres from Yuigahama Beach. The property is situated 2.8 km from Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, 2.2 km from Zeniarai Benzaiten and 5 km from Engaku-ji Temple. The property is 1.4 km from Gokuraku-ji Temple and 2.9 km from Riviera Zushi Marina. With a shared bathroom, rooms at the guest house also offer free WiFi, while selected rooms are fitted with a balcony. Zen Vague offers a terrace. Popular points of interest near the accommodation include Zaimokuza Beach, Hasedera Temple and Great Buddha. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda International Airport, 55 km from Zen Vague.
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    • Guest House Kamejikan
      Budget-friendly
      Just 250 metres from Zaimokuza Beach, Guest House Kamejikan is 1.5 km from JR Kamakura Train Station. It offers simple non-smoking Japanese rooms and dormitory-style accommodation with free WiFi and shared showers. Guests at Kamejikan Guest House can sleep in a bunk bed in a dormitory room, or experience traditional futon bedding on a tatami (woven-straw) floor. All rooms are air-conditioned. Toilets are shared. Built 92 years ago as a family residence, Kamejikan is about 2 km from both the Kamakura Daibutsu Buddha Statue and Tsuruoka Hachimangu Shrine. Bicycle rental is offered. A shared-use fridge, free-use PC and free coffee/tea are available at the lounge, and a coin launderette is available. The shared showers are open 24/7. Bodyboards and yukata robes can be rented. Breakfast can be served with an advance reservation.
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    • Guest House Kamakura Zen-ji
      Budget-friendly
      Guest House Kamakura Zen-ji in Kamakura provides adults-only accommodation with a shared lounge and a garden. Around 100 metres from Yuigahama Beach, the property is also 1.1 km away from Zaimokuza Beach and offers free WiFi. Attractions in the area include Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, 3.5 km away, or Zeniarai Benzaiten, located 2.9 km from the property. Rooms are complete with a shared bathroom, while certain rooms at the guest house also offer a seating area. Guests at Guest House Kamakura Zen-ji will be able to enjoy activities in and around Kamakura, like hiking and cycling. Popular points of interest near the accommodation include Hasedera Temple, Great Buddha and Gokuraku-ji Temple. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda International Airport, 56 km from Guest House Kamakura Zen-ji.
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    • guesthouse SHIBAFU
      Budget-friendly
      Guesthouse SHIBAFU has a restaurant, bar, a shared lounge and garden in Kamakura. With free WiFi, this 1-star guest house offers luggage storage space. Some rooms at the property have a terrace with a garden view. All rooms in the guest house are fitted with a kettle. Rooms are equipped with air conditioning, and some units at guesthouse SHIBAFU have a balcony. At the accommodation the rooms are fitted with bed linen and towels. Popular points of interest near guesthouse SHIBAFU include Yuigahama Beach, Zaimokuza Beach and Hasedera Temple. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda International Airport, 55 km from the guest house.
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    • Kiyaza Kamakura Resort
      Budget-friendly
      Providing free WiFi, Kiyaza Kamakura Resort is situated in Kamakura, 2.3 km from Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine and 1.7 km from Hasedera Temple. Among the various facilities are a garden, a terrace, as well as a bar. Great Buddha is 2.1 km from the guest house, while Zeniarai Benzaiten is 2.6 km away. Tokyo Haneda International Airport is 55 km from the property.
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    • WeBase Kamakura
      Mid-range
      Located a 3-minute walk from Yuigahama, WeBase Hostel Kamakura offers private and dormitory rooms in Kamakura. The property features a yoga studio where guests can take part in daily yoga classes, meditation and beach yoga sessions. Free WiFi is provided throughout the property. All rooms at WeBase Kamakura Hostel have air conditioning and heating. There are shared shower booths and a public bath. Superior Family Room comes with an en suite bathroom. WeBase Hostel Kamakura features a communal lounge and coin-operated laundry machines. Luggage storage is available at 24-hour front desk. The restaurant on site serves breakfast, as well as tea and coffee made with Fuglen Coffee Roasters coffee beans. Kamakura Station is a 4-minute train ride on the Enoshima Dentetsu Line or a 15-minute walk from the property. Enoshima Station can be reached via a 21-minute train ride.
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