Every year in June, after the rain season has begun, and the air gets hot and damp, thousands of visitors from Tokyo and Kamakura surge to the Meigetsu-in temple in Kita-Kamakura. This is the time, when the temple’s ajisai (紫陽花), the hydrangeas, are in full bloom and look their best.

Meigetsu-in is now a temple of the Rinzai Zen school of Buddhism. It was founded in 1383 (Muromachi period) by Uesugi Norikata, a powerful statesman of the Uesugi clan.

Apart from the hydrangea, which gave the temple its nickname Ajisai-dera (紫陽花寺), it is famous for an excellent dry landscape garden and the round windows of the main temple buildings. Like all Kamakura gardens, it is also beautiful in autumn when the leaves change color.

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How to get there:
Meigetsu-in is a 10 minute walk from Kita-Kamakura station on the JR Yokosuka Line, one station before Kamakura station when coming from Tokyo.

300 Yen, in June 500 Yen

Opening hours
9:00 am – 4:00 pm
in June 8:30 am to 5:00 pm


Kenchō-ji is the oldest Zen training monastery in Japan and holds the highest rank in the Kamakura Five-Mountain system (五山). It was built in the Kamakura period (1192-1337), the construction was finished in 1273.

The layout of the temple follows the Chinese Ch’an (Zen) tradition, all the buildings are arranged on an axis. The garden can be found in the end of the temple complex, behind the Hōjō, the quarters of the head priest. Musō Soseki, a famous Zen priest, poet and garden designer, is said to have built the garden. The garden is a typical Zen garden, which uses few plants and materials. The pond in the garden reminds of the shape of the character 心, which stands for mind, heart and is an important element in Zen Buddhism.

  • Introduction
  • Historical background – Kamakura period
  • History of the temple
  • The temple and gardens
  • Flowers and plants in the garden
  • Questions for Hayano-San
  • Jenny’s impressions
  • Eating and Drinking
  • How to get there

14 pages
55 illustrations
21 MB

The eBook is delivered as PDF.

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How to get there
Kenchō-ji is a 15-20 minute walk from Kita-Kamakura Station on the JR Yokosuka Line, one station before Kamakura Station when coming from Tokyo.
It can also be reached in about a 15 minute walk from Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine.

Address JP: 神奈川県鎌倉市山ノ内8
Address EN: Kanagawa-Ken Kamakura-Shi Yama-no-uchi 8

300 Yen

Opening hours
8:30am to 4:30pm