Ajisai (hydrangea flowers) greet visitors at Meigetsu-in | MARY HIRATA MCJILTON
Meigetsu-In, which roughly translates to "Bright Moon Temple," is also known as the Temple of Ajisai (Hydrangea) and attracts many visitors during the rainy season of June when the flower blossoms are at their peak. The temple was built in 1160 by Tsunetoshi Yamanouchi in honor of his deceased father, Toshimichi, who died during the battle of Heiji the year before. While the temple expanded and later became a part of the Zenkoji temple, it was later destroyed during the 1867 Meiji Restoration leaving Meigetsu-In as the only remaining temple of Zenkoji today.
Observing the Satori no Mado (Window of Enlightenment) | MARY HIRATA MCJILTON
Only a 10 minute stroll from Kita-Kamakura station, it is incredible how quiet and calm the surrounding area is despite being so close to the railroad. With the sound of birds humming upon the trees, it is surprising to see such abundant greenery. There are between seven to twenty-two types of seasonal flowers found in the temple throughout the year, giving seasonal blessings to those who visit this sacred place.
Mini sculptures including Jizo (a guardian deity) | MARY HIRATA MCJILTON
Immerse yourself in the wonder of discovering nature, plants,Jizo (the guardian deity of children and travelers) and animal statues found along the path. There are many ways to spend time in the temple: walking along the weathered stone steps; observing the Buddhist's worldview at the "dry garden"; counting the numerous bamboo shoots stretching to the sky; and strolling around the other end of the garden through a framed window ofSatori no Mado (The Window of Enlightenment). The temple makes you appreciate nature and the significance of how we are all connected in the past, present, and future.
Ajisai (hydrangea flowers) of all colors at full bloom in June | MARY HIRATA MCJILTON
The centuries old trees and bamboo | MARY HIRATA MCJILTON
Admissions: Children (Elementary and Middle school) 300 yen / High School and above 500 yen / Free for those with the disability pass ID/passbook
Address: 189 Yamanouchi, Kamakura, Kanagawa, 247-0062
Kamakura offers history, culture, and nature all together in one package for visitors to explore.
The collection of water bottle caps saying, "Welcome to Kamakura Station" |MARY HIRATA MCJILTON
Born and raised in Japan, Mary Hirata McJilton is a graduate of the University of Minnesota. While earning her degree in Global Studies and a minor in Political Science, she worked at a Japanese restaurant, was actively involved in a Japanese student group that hosted Japanese food events, and interned at Slow Food Minnesota. These experiences nurtured her curiosity around food culture and sustainability. With characteristic serendipity, she spontaneously meets new people wherever life takes her, expanding her repertoire of original Mary-stories that she loves to share over meals. In her downtime, she enjoys cooking with herbs and vegetables that she grows herself on her cozy balcony, and refreshing the Italian she learned from a stint studying abroad.