Meigetsuin Temple, Kamakura - Japanese Aesthetics At Its Finest

Meigetsuin Temple, Kamakura - Japanese Aesthetics At Its Finest

Kita-kamakura is the next stations after Kamakura Station. In this area, there are great places where you can experience Japanese culture. We especially recommend Meigetsuin Temple, a place that is full of beauty.

Kita-Kamakura is the next station after Kamakura Station. For those who would like to enjoy Japanese culture, this is a charming city that doesn’t fall behind Kamakura. Here, a number of historical temples and shrines, fashionable cafes, and stores selling miscellaneous items line the streets.

Out of all of these spots in Northern Kamakura, there is one spot in particular that we recommend to those who have yet to experience this city. That spot is the temple known as Meigetsuin.

meigetsuinThe Japanese garden at Meigetsuin

It Was Originally Part of Another Temple?

Originally, Meigetsuin wasn’t its own temple. In the 14th century a larger temple known as Zenkoji was built in the same area. Meigetsuin was one of the temple buildings in the grounds there. Halfway through the 17th century Zenkoji was torn down, but for whatever reason Meigetsuin was preserved. It has gradually developed in the temple we can see today.

Not Just the Hydrangeas! - The Charm of Meigetsuin

When it comes to Meigetsuin, the beautiful hydrangeas are well-known. MATCHA has mentioned these flowers before in a previous article.

Read also:

Celebrating The Flower Of Tsuyu: Hydrangeas At Their Peak In Kamakura

Believe it or not, but the hydrangeas here were planted after World War II. Throughout Meigetsuin’s long history, the planting of these flowers is something that’s relatively recent.

Hydrangeas were planted because they’re easy to care for. They became famous by slowly gathering attention over time. June is when the hydrangeas are in full bloom, which is when many tourists visit Meigetsuin. During the weekends in June, there are large numbers of people that span from the temple all the way to Kita-Kamakura station.


Meigetsuin is a spot that we’d like you to visit, the hydrangeas here are very beautiful. Having said that, June is a time of year in Japan when it rains a lot. It may be a little bit difficult for a first-timer to Kita-Kamakura to view this area while holding an umbrella.

For those who visit Kita-Kamakura for the first time, we recommend that you avoid visiting Meigetsuin in June.

At Meigetsuin you can enjoy plum blossoms in the spring and autumn foliage in the fall. It’s not just the flowers that bloom, in the grounds here the Meigetsuin yagura (*1) is also worth seeing. People who were part of the upper class are buried here, such as samurais and monks. The yagura here is the biggest in Kamakura.

*1...A yagura is a type of burial inside of a cave that’s made by digging into a wall. You often find these in Kamakura.

The Round Window - A Symbol of Japanese Aesthetics

Above all else, the round window here that’s also featured in the Meigetsuin pamphlet is the most noted part of this temple. You can’t help but be struck with wonder when looking at this window straight on. Many of the people who visit this temple take photos of that beauty.


Another maniac way of enjoying Meigetsuin is by searching for rabbit items. Believe it or not, but throughout the grounds here you can see a number of rabbit ornaments.

In the name of this temple there is a hidden secret. ‘Getsu’, inside of the name Meigetsuin, means ‘moon’ in Japanese. You might say that the moon is a symbol for Meigetsuin.

From ancient times in Japan, it’s believed that rabbits live on the moon. This folklore came from the reflected image of the moon that looks as if it were a rabbit.

The association of ‘Meigetsuin’ --> ‘getsu’ or ‘moon’ --> ‘rabbit’ continues, so a number of rabbit ornaments have been placed across this temple.

meigetsuin The entrance of Meigetsuin

For those who’d like to comfortably and relaxingly enjoy everyday Kita-Kamakura, please visit Meigetsuin where one can enjoy viewing the beauty of Japan. To first-timers, we recommend avoiding the crowded season in June.


Meigetsuin (The Hydrangea Temple)

Address: Kamakura, Yamanouchi 189
Hours: 9:00 - 16:00
Closed: Never
Wi-fi: None
Credit Cards: -
Other Languages: -
Menus/Information in Other Languages: -
Nearest Station: JR Yokosuka line - Kita-Kamakura Station
Access: A 10-minute walk from Kita-Kamakura Station
Fee: 500 yen
Religion: Buddhism
Phone Number: 0467-24-3437
Official Site: -

Author & Translator

旅する2児の母、主婦ときどきライター&編集者。鎌倉在住。女性向けサイトの立ち上げや運営を経て、リクルートの住宅サイトでweb編集者を経験。20代最後の年にはイギリスに留学。酒好き、旅好き、美味しいもの好き。 【渡航歴】イギリス スペイン エジプト 韓国 中国 台湾 タイ ベトナム ラオス カンボジア シンガポール インドネシア フィジー グアム ハワイ アメリカ(本土)

Translated by Richard Perkins


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