June Colours in Kamakura

Colourful. Magical. Plentiful. Wonderful!

The hydrangeas are in full bloom. Brace yourselves for a flower overload!

I couldn’t think of a better place than Kamakura to enjoy this beautiful feast for the eyes. The seaside town, about an hour from Tokyo, is home to loads of temples, hiking trails, nature… oh, and a 13th century, 13m high Great Buddha statue. Minor detail! :-P

My recent trip to Kamakura was not to see Buddha, although I have before, but to visit two temples in particular. One was Meigetsu-in, also called Ajisai-dera (hydrangea temple). The other was Hase-dera, probably the most popular temple complex in Kamakura.

Meigetsu-in is about a 10 minute walk from Kita-Kamakura Station. It is famous for its perfect round window, an impressive hydrangea garden, as well as an ‘inner garden’ which is only open to visitors twice a year – in June and November. Lucky me, I got to enter this exclusive area and enjoy walking around the immaculately kept lawns, iris garden, and small moss-covered woods. It was really elegant and peaceful, and definitely worth the extra entrance fee. The main garden also has an admission fee, but is much more crowded than the inner garden. People flock here to see the hydrangea avenue, a stairway which is surrounded either side by a mass of flowers. It’s a challenge to get a photo with no one on the stairs, but if you’re lucky enough (and you go on a quiet weekday!) then you just might get 10 seconds to quickly snap a couple of non-obstructed pics.

Meigetsuin

A perfect circle

Meigetsuin

Entrance to the tea house

Meigetsuin

The famous ‘hydrangea stairway’

A few trains stops, or an hour’s walk away, is Hase-dera. It’s a temple on the side of a hill, just a few hundred metres away from the seashore. From the top of the hill you get a refreshing view of Sagami Bay and the Pacific Ocean. Unfortunately, like most beaches in Japan, the sand is not soft and white, but rather, black and fairly uninviting! The sea hawks constantly flying above are also a bit of a turn-off! It’s a good thing there’s plenty other good reasons to go to Hase. The temple is home to more than 40 varieties of hydrangeas, and about 2500 actual hydrangea shrubs. Talk about overload! But it’s so nice just to walk around the hillside and admire the stunning colours, shapes and patterns of this celebrated flower. Kamakura is a fantastic day trip from Tokyo any time of the year, but especially during the rainy season!

Hase-dera

A splash of colour surrounding the temples

Hase-dera

Bank of hydrangeas

Hase-dera

Sneak peak of the bay

Hase-dera

Jizo statues in memory of deceased babies

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8 thoughts on “June Colours in Kamakura

  1. 雨季(うき)の日本を彩(いろど)る 美しい アジサイ と 菖蒲(しょうぶ)の花を お寺の
    庭園(ていえん)で 見れるなんて、最高ですね。竹林(たけばやし)の中に立っている
    良縁地蔵(りょうえんじぞう)が、とても かわいくて あどけないです。
    このお地蔵さんは、なくなった幼児(ようじ)の霊(れい)を まつるものと、聞きましたが、
    赤ちゃんのように とても小さい 石の像(ぞう)ですか。
    アジサイの花が咲く間は、このこどもたちも、よろこんでいるようですね。

    Liked by 1 person

    • 最高ですよね!この二つのお寺だけじゃなく鎌倉の全体は美しいですよ!電車から降りるとすぐに都市と違う空気を感じられます。
      「子供を守り神」として地蔵の意味は悲しいですが、この石造はめっちゃ可愛いですね。片手と同じ大きさでした。

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, “Jizo” is the Buddhist protector of children/babies. Mothers who have lost their baby due to miscarriage, abortion or stillbirth put a little statue around the temple to pray for their protection in the afterlife. All statues of Jizo, like the ones with red bibs or hats, are a guardian for children that have died.

      Liked by 1 person

    • There are so many places to explore in Tokyo! When I read about a cool place, or am recommended to go somewhere, I put it on my to-do list. The thing is, the list just keeps growing and growing! I’ll need to live here for at least 10 more years before I feel like I ‘know’ Tokyo. Thanks though, I will put Yanaka Ginza on the list! :-)

      Like

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