Okochi Sanso Garden is a stunning Japanese garden in Arashiyama, Kyoto. It is a private house composed of a villa and a Japanese garden, and it is one of the most beautiful and peaceful places to visit in Kyoto.
The garden was created by the famous Japanese actor Okochi Denjiro, who was also a lover of traditional Japanese culture. He built the villa and the garden in 1935, and it has been open to the public since 1969.
The garden is a perfect example of a traditional Japanese garden, with its carefully arranged rocks, trees, and water features.
You can enjoy a peaceful stroll through the garden, taking in the stunning views and beautiful scenery. The garden is also home to several tea houses where you can enjoy a cup of green tea and a traditional Japanese sweet.
The Gardens, in the northwest foothills of Kyoto, were originally one of the homes of Japanese actor Okochi Denjiro. Born in 1898, Okochi was one of the most famous actors of his day, starring in many period dramas and traditional samurai roles. He is credited on over one-hundred-and-thirty projects, some of which are particularly intriguing.
Instead of blowing his wealth on cars, drugs, or clothes like many young stars do now, Okochi devoted about thirty years to building and maintaining his beloved home.
The gardens were built up over a period of 30 years by Okochi to function as one of his residences. The main structures were built in the 1930s and 1940s, except for the Jibutsudō, which is a Meiji Era building that was moved to this site.
After Okochi’s death in 1962, the gardens were opened to the public. Today, the former movie star’s estate presents a historical promenade, full of charm, to curious travelers. The Okochi Sanso Gardens are right inside the Arashiyama bamboo forest, accessible through a small gate.
Okochi Sanso Garden is a stunning Japanese villa and garden that boasts features that are sure to impress visitors. Here’s a few of the key features that you can expect to see during your visit:
- Japanese-style buildings: The grounds of the villa include multiple buildings that are built in the traditional Japanese style. You can explore the buildings and experience the unique architecture and design that is characteristic of Japanese culture.
- Tea houses: There are several tea houses throughout the garden, which provide visitors with the opportunity to experience a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. These tea houses are intimate and peaceful, and offer a relaxing respite from the hustle and bustle of the city.
- Shrines: The garden features several shrines that are dedicated to various deities. These shrines are beautifully decorated and are a testament to the rich spiritual history of Japan.
- Bamboo groves: The garden is home to several bamboo groves, which provide visitors with a sense of tranquility and calm. The rustling of the bamboo leaves in the wind is a soothing sound that is sure to put visitors at ease.
- Stone paths: The garden features several stone paths that wind their way through the various buildings and gardens. These paths are beautifully designed and provide visitors with a unique perspective on the garden and its surroundings.
- Water features: Okochi Sanso Garden is home to several water features, including ponds and streams. These features are not only beautiful to look at, but they also provide a sense of serenity and tranquility that is sure to leave visitors feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
The garden’s unique blend of traditional Japanese architecture and natural beauty make it an unforgettable experience that is sure to leave a lasting impression.
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The Garden is divided into several sections, each with its own unique features and characteristics. One of the most prominent areas is the pond garden, which is near the entrance of the garden. This area features a large pond that is surrounded by trees and plants, including cherry blossoms, azaleas, and Japanese maples. You can cross the pond on a small bridge and enjoy the tranquil scenery.
Another notable area is the bamboo grove, which is at the back of the garden. This section features a dense forest of bamboo trees that create a peaceful and serene atmosphere. You can walk through the grove on a winding path and admire the tall and slender bamboo stalks.
The garden also features a tea house, which is near the top of the hill. This traditional Japanese building lets you chance to rest and enjoy a cup of green tea while taking in the stunning views of the surrounding area. The tea house is surrounded by a small garden that features plants and flowers.
Throughout the garden, visitors will find stone lanterns, water basins, and other traditional Japanese garden elements. These features are carefully placed to create a harmonious and balanced design that blends seamlessly with the natural landscape.
Okochi Sanso Garden is a beautiful place to visit throughout the year. Each season brings its own unique charm to the garden.
During this time, the cherry blossom trees are in full bloom, creating a stunning pink canopy over the garden. You can enjoy a leisurely stroll through the garden, taking in the sights and smells of the beautiful cherry blossoms. It is advised to come early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the crowds.
Summer is a great time to visit Okochi Sanso Garden, especially in the early morning or late afternoon when the sun is not too hot. The garden is lush and green during this time, with many different types of plants and trees in bloom. You can enjoy the cool shade of the bamboo groves and take a refreshing break at one of the garden’s many benches.
This is my personal favorite time to visit the garden, when it is ablaze with color as the leaves of the maple and ginkgo trees turn a brilliant shade of red and orange. You can take a leisurely walk through the garden, enjoying the beautiful fall foliage and the crisp autumn air.
Winter is a quieter time to visit Okochi Sanso Garden. While the garden is not as colorful as it is during the other seasons, it still has its own unique beauty. You can enjoy the peacefulness of the garden and the stunning views of the surrounding mountains and hills.
Overall, Okochi Sanso Garden is a beautiful place to visit throughout the year. Each season brings its own unique charm to the garden, making it a must-see destination for nature lovers and garden enthusiasts.
Okochi Sanso Garden is in Arashiyama, in the northwest part of Kyoto. It is easily accessible by bus or train. The garden is open daily from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and admission is 1,000 yen for adults and 500 yen for children.
Visitors are encouraged to wear comfortable shoes, as the garden has many steep paths and stairs. The garden is also not wheelchair accessible, so visitors with mobility issues may have difficulty navigating the terrain.
While exploring the garden, you can enjoy stunning views of the surrounding mountains and the city of Kyoto. There are several teahouses throughout the garden where you can rest and enjoy a cup of green tea and a sweet treat.
It is recommended that visitors allow at least two hours to fully explore the garden and take in all of its beauty. Photography is allowed throughout the garden, but visitors are asked to be respectful of other guests and not to disturb the natural environment.