The Shugakuin Imperial Villa was designed as a lavish retreat for the Imperial Family. The grounds are extensive and are divided into three large gardens (upper, middle, lower), each of which features a superb tea-ceremony house with superb views of the gardens, ponds, and "borrowed scenery" of the surrounding mountains.
The villa represents the best of Japanese landscape architecture. It was begun by the Emperor Go-Mizunoo after his abdication and was completed by his daughter in 1680. It is a place for feasting one's senses on the tranquil beauty of nature, lovingly shaped by human hands. Visitors cannot help but be moved by the aesthetic achieved by the garden's designers. The changing colors of the leaves in fall are particularly impressive.
Please note that prospective visitors are required to make a reservation by contacting the Imperial Household Agency (Tel.075-211-1215).
* Address: Shugakuin-yabuzoe Sakyo-ku, Kyoto
* Access: 20-minute walk from Eizan Railway Shugakuin Station
15-minute walk from City Bus Stop Shugakuin-rikyu-michi
* Parking: Not available
* Closed: 12/28-1/4, every Saturday, Sunday and National Holidays
(open on Saturdays in Mar. Apr. May. Oct. and Nov.)
* Entrance Fee: free (an advance application is necessary)
* Website: http://sankan.kunaicho.go.jp/english/guide/shugakuin.html