The best time to visit the Amida-ji or Ajisai Temple (Temple of Hydrangeas) is from June to mid-July when the approximately 3,000 hydrangeas bloom in the courtyard and along the narrow footpath leading to the temple.
It was built in 1604 or 1609 (there is some dispute) by the monk Tansei Sonin (1552-1613) who settled in a cave near the temple to meditate. Tansei was practising Mokujiki, a discipline in which monks ate only nuts and berries, and the temple belongs to the Jodo sect. Tansei’s remains were placed in a stone coffin and are located behind the main chamber of the cave in which he lived.
Inside the temple there is a small chamber with souvenirs dedicated to Princess Kazu who was forced into marriage with the shogun Tokugawa Iemochi when she was 16 to strengthen political ties to the shogunate. She died of beriberi at the age of 31.