Katsura-rikyu, an imperial villa
Katsura-Rikyu is an Imperial Villa in Katsura district of Kyoto. The villa consists of a beautiful stroll garden and excellent buildings that include Shoin building and four tea houses that are arranged in the garden.
You can enjoy changes of view while walking along the path in the garden. You loose a view of the pond here and you see the whole pond there or you are on the waterside then you stand on the high place.
The villa is worth to visit but has a couple of obvious deficits from a viewpoint of a tourist. Those are, (a) you have to apply for a guided tour beforehand and, (b) you have no freedom of strolling around but have to follow a guide who explain things of interest in Japanese as well as giving instruction for places where you can use a camera.
Katsura-Rikyu was built in the 17th Century as a villa of Hachijonomiya Imperial Family. Imperial Prince Toshihito (1579-1629) who founded Hachijonomiya Family started construction of a rather simple villa in 1615 and completed several years later. The oldest part of Shoin building, Koshoin (Old Shoin), was built that time.
After the prince passed away, the villa dilapidated for more than 10 years. Prince Yoshihito's son Prince Toshitada (1619-1662) regained wealth after he was married a daughter of a feudal lord and revived and enlarged the villa. He completed construction of the villa around 1649.
Hachijonomiya family became extinct in 1881 and the villa is under the jurisdiction of the Imperial Household Agency since 1883.
How to get to Katsura-rikyu
- 20 minutes of walk from Katsura station of Hankyu Railway Line or,
- Kyoto City Bus 33 from Kyoto Station to Katsura-Rikyu-mae bus stop, then 8 minutes of walk.
Hours, Admission and Official Website
The villa is closed on National Holidays and December 28 to January 4 as well as days they need to close for special events. They also close on the week ends with the following exception:
They open the third Saturdays of each month and all the Saturdays of April, May, October and November. They open those Saturdays even if those are National Holidays.
One hour of tour starts at 9:00, 10:00, 11:00, 13:30, 14:30 and 15:30
Admission is free but you have to apply for a tour beforehand. Visitors must be 18 years old or above.
Check details in their website: http://sankan.kunaicho.go.jp/english/guide/katsura.html
Click on thumbnails for larger images and more information. All photos were taken in October 4, 2003.