Walk in Meigetsu-in Buddhist Temple – Kamakura City, Japan
Meigetsu-in (明月院) is a Buddhist temple of the Kenchō-ji school in Kamakura City just south of Tokyo, Kanagawa Prefecture, 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).
Meigetsu-in was built by Uesugi Norikata of the powerful Uesugi clan, and the name itself derives from Norikata’s own posthumous name (Meigetsu).
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.
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).
Zenkō-ji however didn’t survive the anti-Buddhist clampdown (Haibutsu kishaku) that followed the Meiji Restoration.
Meigetsu-in is the owner of a famous 13th century statue of Uesugi Shigefusa, founder of the Uesugi clan. He is dressed in the picturesque clothes of the dignitaries of the Kamakura period. The statue is a National Treasure.