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How to Properly Explore Kamakura Part 9: Meigetsu-en 明月院

Why Meigetsu-in 

  1. You love dry rock gardens that are expressive and impressive
  2. You love the Irisis behind the main hall when they are in season
  3. Grotto grave ( stone cave graves )
  4. "Moon-smiling" teahouses
  5. The paths of weathered Kamakura stones
  6. Hydrangea

Founded in 1160 "Meigetsu-an" ( Bright Moon Hermitage) by Tsunetoshi for the repose of the soul of his father.   This is a Rinzai Sect school belonging to Kenchoji Branch.   If you visit this place on weekend be prepared to stand in a long line in order to view the main attraction.   The tatami room with the view of the seasons.   

When I come here the first thing I do is make an offering and pray at the alter.   I think walk around the gardens while admiring the shrubs and the seasonal flowers.   Sometimes just taking a book and heading over to the teahouse is good, too.   The local teas and sweets are very nice as well as the view from the teahouse.   

Typically young couples come here because of the overall cuteness of the garden and temple trellises.   I find this to be a pure relaxation teahouse temple place where one could simply just get lost in translation over some sweets.   

If you have the patience to queue the long line then it may be worth it.  The tatami room is perfectly arranged and positioned to capture the essence of the seasons through the round shaped hole in the wall.   To the left is the main hall with a bell for prayers and you don't need to wait in line for that here.

Meigetsuin Temple is most famous for being the so-called "Hydrangea Temple."   Statues of Shaka-nyorai are carved into the rock, is the largest tomb in Kamakura.   Irises are also very lovely here, too.

                                The teahouses are my favorite with the macha and sweets.


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