Katsura Imperial Villa4.2
This former imperial villa is located along the west side of the Katsura River in western Kyoto. Built in the 17th century by an imperial family, this villa is a pure Japanese-styled structure surrounded with an expansive 7-hectare stroll garden. Bruno Taut praised highly of this structure on his visit in 1933, making this spot internationally well-known.
There are teahouses and the large pond with five islets connected by various types of bridges, and the surrounding garden is meticulously manicured. The villa and garden can be viewed only on tours, four times a day, held by the Imperial Household Agency. Making a reservation can be a little bit of a hassle, but this place is worth a visit when you have longer time in Kyoto.
Airport/Sta.Osaka International Airport (about 32.6km) Google Transit
We guide this spot.
5.03 months ago
You can learn how the richest people in Japan back then were passing their time. Perfectly calculated great views.
5.06 months ago
There was still a disabled senior man guiding us at the gate. They must have committed much to the well-being of the disabled. The group of this villa was in a smaller size with only eight visitors, and there were groups with English speaking guides. We followed a young female guide who introduced us in English, and she could even speak some Chinese. A man dressed like an old Shanghai detective guarded in the team tail.
外腰掛 was a waiting area for visitors, where they could collate garments in a small room, rest at the outing bench and enjoy the landscape of 蘇鉄山. We were allowed to sit on the bench to feel the moment. I loved that place very much. The first landscape just amused me, expecting more from then.
洲浜 evokes the image of the seashore, and a small stone lantern at the tip represents a lighthouse. A stone linking two islets depicts 天橋立, which is one of Japan's three scenic views, a significant route of pines in 宮津. I only knew that after long after, but still liked the composition very much. The shape of the bond changes dramatically, in contrast with 修学院離宮.
松琴亭 is the final viewpoint across the stone lantern and the 天橋立. There was a superior teahouse there. Unfortunately, I didn't notice the sliding screens with the blue-and-white checkerboard design.
賞花亭 is at the top of a hill, from which we can enjoy broad sight below, both natural and architectural, relaxing people a lot.
笑意軒 is a country-style teahouse. It's my favourite place here because of the magnificent view every window makes. Inward was a quiet garden, outward was a vivid farm. Here is the room I want to live most.
月見台 is for moon viewing. As far as I got to know from documentaries, people in Kyoto are keen on the moon., very romantic and emotional. Drinking tea there at night with the moon would be an extraordinary moment.
We witnessed workers transferring moss on the way. I began to love the bright and forky moss very much. The female guide spoke moderate English but very easy on that tone. She said the villa looked different in various seasons and welcomed us to visit at another time.
5.010 months ago
Greatly enjoyed the guided tour! It explained stories and ingenuity behind the beautiful garden and architecture. It costs 1000 yen (about 9 USD) and requires reservation, but definitely worth it.
The nearest train station is Katsura station. It took 10–15 minutes by foot.
One of the must-go places when you visit Kyoto!
4.0a year ago
Gardens were stunning. You can only see in a tour which currently costs 1,000. We arrived when they opened and had to wait another hour for our tour. They have English headphones for the audio. It is out of the way compared to all other tourist destinations. Luckily there was one taxi waiting in the parking lot because there closest train station was a 15 minute walk.
5.03 months ago
Pay attention to the detail of architecture, gardening.