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Meigetsuin Temple in Kita-Kamakura

A National Historic Site meaning “Bright Moon”

Founded in 1160, Meigetsu-in is a subsidiary of the Zenkoji Temple which was ranked first among the ten great Buddhist temples of the Kanto region. After the Meiji Restoration in 1867, Zenkoji Temple was abolished and only Meigetsu-in remains present day. Meigetsu-in means “Bright Moon” or is also referred to as “Harvest Moon.”

After paying the 300yen Admission fee, you will receive a brochure with English translations. Its cover design is that of a large, circular window and a rabbit hopping in front of it. In Japan, there is a charming legend in which a rabbit jumps into a fire to sacrifice its own body as food to a tired old man. The man, who is believed to be one of the gods, Taishaku-ten, watched in surprise and let the rabbit rise up to the moon. Because of this act of selflessness, many people in Japan remember the goodness of the rabbit every time they look up at the moon. If you look closely, its shadows reflect a rabbit now pounding mochi rice cakes, a valuable food for special occasions.

Enjoy a tranquil walk along the lush green pathways filled with hydrangea bushes, bamboo gardens, and maple trees. Listen to the soothing sounds of water streaming along the rocks. Sit by the rabbit enclosure to watch them quietly hop along and nibble their food. Find some quiet time at the teahouse or find your Zen on the bench with a view of the dry garden. Lastly, admire the beauty of the circular window that frames the inner garden ever-so-dramatically. Enjoy all of these features and more at Meigetsu-in, every season!

Access: 10-minute walk from Kita-Kamakura Station and follow the pathway signs to Meigetsu-in. There are also a few pay park lots in the vicinity, 10 to 15-minute walking distance.

View more photos of Kita-Kamakura Meigetsu-in Temple in other seasons here.

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Find out more about Meigetsuin Temple.

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