Okochi-Sanso Villa probably rivals the city’s imperial villas, and you don’t need a reservation to visit. It took us a long time to get to visit the place, but we’re happy we finally did. It’s a gem!
Formerly the estate of a famed Japanese film actor (Okochi Denjiro), this superb villa and surrounding gardens are now open to the public. It is well worth the Yen 1,000 admission fee (with sweet and green tea). The main house here is one of the finest examples of traditional Japanese residential architecture anywhere and the teahouse is beautiful as well.
But it’s the gardens here that is really great. And specially so during the Fall. Simply follow the standard route, and you’ll see all the important parts, including a viewpoint that offers views across the whole city and a lovely little Shinto shrine. Great opportunities to capture beautiful Japanese garden landscape photos.
Location: Right next to the famous Bamboo Grove in Arashiyama, above Tenryu-Ji Temple
Opening hours: 9:00am-5:00pm
Admission: Yen 1000
15 min walk from Arashiyama Station, Keifuku dentetsu, Arashiyama line
25 min walk from Arashiyama Station, Henkyu railway