The Garden Guide

Shugaku-in Imperial Villa Garden

This villa complex in the foothills of Mount Hiei was made as a country retreat for occasional visits by the retired Emperor Gomizunoo. It has three residential buildings with gardens for members of the imperial party. They are set in the 45 ha of pine forest and linked by paths. It is a stroll garden with a boating lake. The Cloud Touching Arbour (Rinun-tei pavilion) in the Upper Garden has a fine view of Kyoto and is an exceptional instance of a 'borrowed landscape'. Never before had the idea been used on such a large scale. As in English gardens made 150 years later, views were planned like landscape paintings with foreground, middleground and background. The design is said to bave been planned as a clay model (which remains the best way of planning large-scale compositions of landscape with architecture).

Shugakuin Rikyu; Shugakuin Imperial Villa;, Sakyo-ku, Shugakuin, Kyoto, Japan

It is necessary to apply for permission the day before a visit

Visit the Shugaku-in Imperial Villa Garden website

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