The villa of 3 gardens
Shugaku-in Villa, which was constructed in 1655 by Emperor Go-Mizunoo at the foot of Mt. Hiei, is composed of 3 gardens which are called Kami-no-Ochaya (Upper Garden), Naka-no-Ochaya (Middle Garden), and Shimo-no-Ochaya (Lower Garden). The grand Upper Garden has the Rinun-tei and Kyusui-tei teahouses and is centered around the huge Yokuryu-chi Pond. The Middle Garden has the Kyaku-den reception hall while the Lower Garden consists of a pond garden in which the Jugetsu-kan villa is situated. Connecting the three gardens are fields, and the teahouses are linked by a narrow path. Including the fields, the gardens are maintained as national properties and even now, the entire villa is known as a popular tourist spot of Kyoto where visitors can enjoy the beautiful scenery of teahouses and nature.
How to apply for a tour of Shugaku-in Villa
The villa can be toured free of admission, but reservations must be made in advance. Applications can be done from the homepage. Reservations for the Kyoto Imperial Palace and the Imperial Palace in Tokyo can also be done from the same site. Just select Shugaku-in Imperial Villa and the month, date and time at which you would like to visit. As a note, only adults 18 and over can apply.
Walking around Shugaku-in Villa
Around the villa, there are various other shrines and temples, and the area is perfect for a leisurely stroll. There is Manshu-in Temple which has a dry landscape garden that utilizes stone and sand to express water, and Sekizanzen-in Temple which is famous as a place for the fall colors. Along with these historic sites within this area of serene nature, there are also plenty of cafes and boutiques with an antique atmosphere.