The residence of wealthy merchant Kijuro Saito IV from the end of the Tokugawa Era into the modern age
The Old Saito Villa is a home that was built by Kijuro Saito IV in 1918. The Saitos were a well-born family which ran a sake brewery during the Edo Era, and from the end of the Tokugawa Era in the 19th century into the 20th century, they moved into shipping and banking to eventually develop Niigata Prefecture’s foremost financial conglomerate. The villa which was built upon a large parcel of land with a total area of over 4300㎡ has been recognized as a National Place of Scenic Beauty with its pairing with a garden forming a masterpiece of modern Japanese architecture.
An open summer villa with the sophistication of modern Japanese architecture
From the Old Saito Villa’s construction as a summer villa, various elaborate designs were put into place to provide a sense of coolness. The 1st and 2nd floors have plenty of height, and the large opening facing the garden is not only great for allowing in breezes but also to boldly open the view on the garden so that with the effect of merging it with the interior view provides something that is refreshing to the eyes. The 2nd floor is a large hall and starting with the pillars, the wood was used to create a narrow and simple design to promote a feeling of a wide space. This design was applied down to the smallest areas such as the beautiful transoms and fittings so that there is a certain elegance to the house.
The topography of the sand dunes near the coast brought alive by the garden around the pond
Although it is a summer home, the villa doesn’t have close contact with the shore as it is built upon the Niigata Dunes. There, a tranquil silence floats as visitors feel the sound of waves and the sea breezes. The Old Saito Villa makes use of the distinctive topography of the dunes to create an artificial hill on the slope, to plant a variety of trees and plants such as pine and maple and to place a pond in the middle of the garden to bring a sense of coolness. So as viewed from inside the villa, the beauty of the garden is wonderfully complete as a scene merging it and the house. At the same time, there is great appeal in taking a walk around the pond-centered garden with various highlights such as a separate tea house and a waterfall.