Kyoto Guide: Okochi Sanso Villa 大河内山荘
The late great silent movie actor Denjiro Okochi was a major star from the 1920s until his death in 1962. His legacy today however is as much related to his films as to his tremendous villa in western Kyoto.
He attained stardom at a young age, and spent an enormous amount of time and money on buidling a spectacular second home in the hills of Arashiyama, Kyoto.
The resulting villa and gardens cover approximately 20 thousand square meters. They include several buildings, lovely gardens, a sweeping view of the entire city of Kyoto, and on the other side a view down into the Hozu River below.
Denjiro Okochi took some 30 years in the creation and building of the villa. He planted a garden that highlights all four seasons: cherry blossoms, azaleas, Japanese maple trees, and many pines.
The villa is located a short distance from Tenryuji at the site where Hyakunin Isshu (One Hundred Poems by One Hundred Poets), a legendary anthology of Japanese poetry, was edited.
The compound consists of a Momoyama-style Shoin (study) a Kamakura-style Jibutsudo (temple), and a tea hut.
There are also stone Buddhas (note: the stone Buddhas pictured below left are not in the Okochi Sanso Villa but on the main street in Arashiyama near Tenryuji) and an observation platform.
Last, there is an open-air museum highlighting the life and film career of Denjiro Okochi.
Along with the price of admission, you will receive tickets for green tea and a sweet.
At a small outlying Japanese-style building below the main structure, you can depending upon the weather sit inside or outside on low tables draped with red or blue cloth.
Okochi Sanso Villa
8 Tabuchiyama-cho Saga Ogurayama Ukyo-ku Kyoto
075 872 2233
Open: 9 am 5 pm
Adults: 1,000 yen
Elementary School Students: 500 yen
Okochi Sanso Villa Access
From Kyoto Station, take the Japan Railways (JR) Saiin Line to Saga Arashiyama Station. It is a fifteen-minute walk from there.
Keifuku Railways Arashiyama Station - a 15-minute stroll along the main street of Arashiyama and through the bamboo forest.
Kyoto city bus: Nonomiya Stop a roughly 10-minute walk. In this part of Kyoto, however, traffic jams can be very bad. Rail is almost always a better option.
For a full listing of Kyoto Museums & Art Galleries click here