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.

A perfect circle
Entrance to the tea house
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!

A splash of colour surrounding the temples
Bank of hydrangeas
Sneak peak of the bay
Jizo statues in memory of deceased babies

11 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。

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 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。

      Liked by 1 person

    1. 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

    1. 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! :-)


  2. Hi Celia, would you know if there will still be hydrangeas in those temples by mid-end June? I love flowers and I am hoping to visit places in Japan where we can see nice flowers. We are visiting Japan again for 9 days (touch down in Tokyo), and I am cramming to think of new places to bring my family. We were just in Tokyo and Niseko last December, and so this time I am looking for active summer (hiking, lake activities) activities that we can do (places accessible by train from Tokyo, a day trip or 2). Thanks so much. You many also reply to me via my email – wetravelhappy1@gmail.com


Share your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.