Meigetsu-in

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Fukugenzan Meigetsu-in
Meigetsu-in Kamakura Round Window.jpg
Meigetsu-in, Kita-kamakura
Information
Denomination Rinzai, Kenchō-ji school
Founded 1383
Founder(s) Uesugi Norikata
Address 189 Yamanouchi, Kamakura, Kanagawa 247-0062
Country Japan
Website None

Fugenzan Meigetsu-in (福源山明月院?) is a Rinzai Zen temple of the Kenchō-ji school in Kita-Kamakura, Kanagawa, Japan. Famous for its hydrangeas, it's also known as The Temple of Hydrangeas (ajisai-dera). The main object of worship is goddess Shō Kannon (聖観音).

History[edit]

The Yagura. Visible are the figures of the so-called 16 Arhats

Meigetsu-in was built by Uesugi Norikata of the powerful Uesugi clan, and the name itself derives from Norikata's own posthumous name (Meigetsu).[1] According to 350-year-old records it was originally just the guest rooms of a much bigger temple called Zenkō-ji (禅興寺?) which was closed by the government during the Meiji period.[1] Zenkō-ji was a temple of considerable prestige, being one of the Rinzai Zen temples classified as (Kantō Jissetsu (関東十刹?), which were second in importance only to Kamakura's so-called Five Mountains (Kamakura Gozan (鎌倉五山?).[1] Zenkō-ji however didn't survive the anti-Buddhist clampdown (Haibutsu kishaku) that followed the Meiji Restoration.[1] Meigetsu-in is the owner of a famous 13th century statue of Uesugi Shigefusa, founder of the Uesugi clan.[1] He is dressed in the picturesque clothes of the dignitaries of the Kamakura period.[1] The statue is a National Treasure.[1]

Points of interest[edit]

Uesugi Shigefusa's statue, a National Treasure
  • The temple itself with its beautiful round window (see photo above)
  • The temple's garden contains one of the celebrated Ten Wells of Kamakura (鎌倉十の井?), the Kame no I (瓶の井)[1]
  • The karesansui, a garden of raked sand, rocks and plants representing legendary Buddhist Mount Shumi.
  • The yagura cave dug on the side of a hill is the largest in Kamakura. The small tower at its center is thought to be Norikata's tomb[1]
  • Hōjō Tokiyori's grave[1]
  • The hydrangeas in the garden. The flowers, however famous, are apparently just a recent addition. They were reportedly chosen because of the ease with which they grow.

Getting there[edit]

  • Get off at JR Yokosuka Line's Kita-Kamakura Station. Walk about ten minutes towards Kamakura on the left side of the train tracks following the signs. Meigetsu-in is on a side street to your left.

See also[edit]

  • For an explanation of terms concerning Japanese Buddhism, Japanese Buddhist art, and Japanese Buddhist temple architecture, see the Glossary of Japanese Buddhism.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Mutsu:1995:165)

References[edit]

  • Mutsu, Iso (1995/06). Kamakura. Fact and Legend. Tokyo: Tuttle Publishing. ISBN 0-8048-1968-8.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  • Meigetsu-in, A guide to Kamakura accessed on March 29, 2008
  • Kita Kamakura, Kamakura Citizen Network accessed on March 29, 2008
  • 明月院, Japanese Wikipedia accessed on March 29, 2008

Coordinates: 35°20′5.48″N 139°33′4.99″E / 35.3348556°N 139.5513861°E / 35.3348556; 139.5513861