Arashiyama mountain area is the sleeping beauty of the ancient Kyoto, dressed in a beautiful skirt of nature made of some of the most spectacular scenes of forest and mountain, just an graceful daughter of mountain area. People say that to get the true charm of Arashiyama, nothing is better than Okoshi Sanso villa. Giving a great view of the bustling city on the vast embrace of magnificent hills and forests, Okoshi Sanso throws down a challenge to all the imperial properties of Kyoto city, ranking as one among the top sightseeing across the city. On a fine summer day, just follow the call of cicada up to the deep shade lost in the back of Arashiyama’s bamboo groves to meet the transcendent complex of Okochi Sanso villa.
The father of Okochi Sanso villa is Denjiro Okochi, a late great silent film actor, most famous for starring in Akira Kurosawa's Sanshiro Sugata, considered as a major star from the 1920s. Attaining stardom at a young age, he spent half of his life, from the age of 34 to his death at 64 together with a huge amount of money on building a villa in the hills of Arashiyama, as he loved to stand on the top of the mountain to look down the city. Starting from a private estate, the villa is now opened to the public.
Okochi Sanso villa along with its surrounding gardens cover approximately 20000 square meters, holding several buildings including the main building Daijokaku, a jibutsu-do hall and Tekisuisan tea room. Daijokaku has a unique architecture combining Japan’s traditional private house styles of shinden-zukuri, shoin-zukuri and sukiya-zukuri. Jibutsu-do hall enshrines Buddhist statues and Tekisuisan tea room is a tranquil space in the sea of moss, compared with a wabi-sabi gem. Different from other imperial palaces, you follow your own route, your own speed to discover every nooks and crannies of the villa. Inside the precinct of the villa, you can find an open-air museum highlighting the life and film career of Denjiro Okochi. There is also an observation platform to enjoy the large view of Kyoto city by the calm Hozu river.
Denjiro Okochi spent more than 30 years raising trees inside the garden that it can be splendid in all four seasons with cherry blossoms, azaleas, Japanese maple trees, and bonsai pines. When you see leaf by leaf of autumn drop in the mossy carpet, painting highlights of red and yellow, you will admire the attempt of Okochi during that time. He finally succeeds in creating a masterpiece. Remember to keep the ticket till the end to get some Japanese sweet served with a cup of hot matcha tea at the teahouse of Okochi Sanso villa.
From 9:00 am to 5:00 pm