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, which are colored blue.
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 (710-1185). It later became part of a larger temple complex called Zenkoji, which was abolished during anti-Buddhist movements soon after the Meiji Restoration of 1868, 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 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.
Getting there and around
Meigetsuin can be reached in a ten minute walk from Kita-Kamakura Station.
Hours and Fees
8:30 to 17:00 (June)
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Hotels around Kamakura
古民家の宿 鎌倉楽庵 - Kamakura Rakuan -Set in Kamakura and with Yuigahama Beach reachable within 300 metres, 古民家の宿 鎌倉楽庵 - Kamakura Rakuan - offers a garden, non-smoking rooms, free WiFi throughout the property and a shared lounge. This 1-star hostel offers a shared kitchen and babysitting service. Zaimokuza Beach is 1.3 km away and Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine is 3.4 km from the hostel. All guest rooms come with air conditioning, a fridge, an oven, a coffee machine, a shower, free toiletries and a desk. The units feature a shared bathroom, a hairdryer and bed linen. The area is popular for hiking and cycling, and bike hire is available at this 1-star hostel. Sankeien is 23 km from the hostel, while Yokohama Marine Tower is 23 km from the property. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda Airport, 43 km from 古民家の宿 鎌倉楽庵 - Kamakura Rakuan -.View on Booking.com
CASA Kamakura Espresso&BEDFeaturing 2-star accommodation, CASA Kamakura Espresso&BED is located in Kamakura, 1.2 km from Zaimokuza Beach and 2.8 km from Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine. The 2-star guest house has air-conditioned rooms with a private bathroom and free WiFi. The property is non-smoking and is situated 600 metres from Yuigahama Beach. At the guest house rooms come with bed linen and towels. Sankeien is 23 km from CASA Kamakura Espresso&BED, while Yokohama Marine Tower is 23 km from the property. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda Airport, 42 km from the accommodation.View on Booking.com
Guest House Irodori KamakuraSet less than 1 km from Yuigahama Beach, Guest House Irodori Kamakura offers 1-star accommodation in Kamakura and has a terrace. 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 shared kitchen, a 24-hour front desk and organising tours for guests. At the guest house, all rooms have a desk. All guest rooms will provide guests with a fridge. An Asian, vegetarian or vegan breakfast is available every morning at the property. At Guest House Irodori Kamakura you will find a restaurant serving Japanese cuisine. Vegetarian and vegan options can also be requested. The area is popular for cycling, and bike hire is available at this 1-star guest house. Zaimokuza Beach is less than 1 km from the accommodation, while Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine is a 19-minute walk from the property. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda Airport, 41 km from Guest House Irodori Kamakura.View on Booking.com
Hotel Metropolitan KamakuraFeaturing 4-star accommodation, Hotel Metropolitan Kamakura is located in Kamakura, 1.3 km from Yuigahama Beach and 1.4 km from Zaimokuza Beach. With a restaurant, the 4-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a private bathroom. Private parking is available on site. Guest rooms are equipped with a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a kettle, a bidet, free toiletries and a wardrobe. Every room comes with a safety deposit box and selected rooms come with city views. At the hotel each room has bed linen and towels. Hotel Metropolitan Kamakura offers an ? la carte or American breakfast. Speaking English and Japanese at the reception, staff are ready to help around the clock. Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine is less than 1 km from the accommodation, while Sankeien is 20 km away. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda Airport, 40 km from Hotel Metropolitan Kamakura.View on Booking.com
Guest House Kamakura Zen-jiFacing the beachfront, Guest House Kamakura Zen-ji offers 2-star accommodation in Kamakura and features a garden and shared lounge. This 2-star guest house offers free WiFi. The property is non-smoking and is located 300 metres from Yuigahama Beach. 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. Zaimokuza Beach is 1.4 km from the accommodation, while Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine is 3.5 km away. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda Airport, 43 km from Guest House Kamakura Zen-ji.View on Booking.com
Guest House KamejikanJust 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.View on Booking.com
guesthouse SHIBAFUGuesthouse SHIBAFU has a garden, shared lounge, a terrace and restaurant in Kamakura. With a bar, the 1-star guest house has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi. The property is non-smoking and is situated 600 metres from Yuigahama Beach. Rooms are equipped with a kettle, while some rooms also boast a balcony and others also feature garden views. At the guest house the rooms are fitted with bed linen and towels. Zaimokuza Beach is 1.3 km from guesthouse SHIBAFU, while Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine is 2.8 km from the property. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda Airport, 42 km from the accommodation.View on Booking.com
kamakura seizanLocated in Kamakura, kamakura seizan offers 4-star accommodation with a garden and a restaurant. This 4-star hotel offers a 24-hour front desk and luggage storage space. The property is non-smoking and is situated 1.5 km from Yuigahama Beach. All units in the hotel are equipped with a kettle. Kamakura seizan offers an ? la carte or Asian breakfast. Zaimokuza Beach is 1.5 km from the accommodation, while Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine is 1.2 km away. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda Airport, 40 km from kamakura seizan.View on Booking.com
Tosei Hotel Cocone KamakuraFeaturing 3-star accommodation, Tosei Hotel Cocone Kamakura is set in Kamakura, 1 km from Yuigahama Beach and 1.1 km from Zaimokuza Beach. Featuring a restaurant, this 3-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with a private bathroom. Private parking can be arranged at an extra charge. All guest rooms in the hotel are fitted with a flat-screen TV. At Tosei Hotel Cocone Kamakura all rooms are fitted with bed linen and towels. The accommodation offers 3-star accommodation with a hot tub. Speaking English and Japanese at the 24-hour front desk, staff are always on hand to help. Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine is 1.4 km from Tosei Hotel Cocone Kamakura, while Sankeien is 21 km from the property. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda Airport, 41 km from the hotel.View on Booking.com
Kiyaza Kamakura ResortProviding 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.View on Booking.com