Meigetsu-In is nicknamed the ‘Ajisai Temple’ because of the abundance of Hydrangea blossoms that cover the grounds each June. The temple has several other picturesque features including a stunning rock garden based on the mythical Mt. Shumi, the famous ‘Satori no Mado’ or ‘Window to Enlightenment’, and a lovely thatched-roof Kaisando (hall of worship). There is a beautiful garden behind the Main Hall which is famous for its Irises, but only open to the public twice a year (2 weeks in June, and 2 weeks in Dec.).
There are many rabbit symbols scattered around the grounds, and indeed a few rabbits are housed just to the side of the main hall. This is because the temple’s name means ‘bright, full moon’, and in Japanese folklore the moon is said to be a Japanese rice cake tended to by rabbits.
Meigetsu-In was originally built in 1160 by Tsunetoshi Yamanouchi as the resting place for his father’s soul. At that time it was know as Meigetsu An. Almost a century later, the land to the north of Meigetsu An was chosen for a new temple named Saimyouji which was the predecessor of Zenkoji Temple. Founded by Tokimune Hojo, Zenkoji was expanded in the end of the 13th century by order of Shogun Ujimitsu Ashikaga and at this time Meigetsu-In became a subsidiary of Zenkoji and its name was changed to Meigetsu-In. Noritaka Uesugi, who was charged with carrying out the expansion, was posthumously named ‘Meigetsu’.
During the Meiji Restoration, Zenkoji, along with many other Buddhist temples, was abolished. Today, Meigestsu-In is a subsidiary of Kenchoji Temple.
No official website
Open: Daily, 9am-4pm (8:30am-5pm in June)
Entrance Fee: ¥300
Address: Yamanouchi 189 Map