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Meigetsu-in Kamakura Main-Hall.jpg
Main Hall
AffiliationKenchō-ji Rinzai
DeityShō Kannon (Avalokiteśvara)
Location189 Yamanouchi, Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture
Geographic coordinates35°20′5.97″N 139°33′5.24″E / 35.3349917°N 139.5514556°E / 35.3349917; 139.5514556Coordinates: 35°20′5.97″N 139°33′5.24″E / 35.3349917°N 139.5514556°E / 35.3349917; 139.5514556
FounderUesugi Norikata

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).


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 below)
  • 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]

Satori no Mado (Window of Enlightenment)
  • 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.


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


  • Mutsu, Iso (June 1995). Kamakura. Fact and Legend. Tokyo: Tuttle Publishing. ISBN 0-8048-1968-8.
  • Kita Kamakura, Kamakura Citizen Network accessed on March 29, 2008
  • 明月院, Japanese Wikipedia accessed on March 29, 2008

External links[edit]