Combining Architectural Perfection and Zen at Garyu Sanso Mountain Villa


2018.02.20

NAVITIME TRAVEL EDITOR

Perched on a cliff overlooking the Hijikawa River, the Garyu Sanso Mountain Villa exhibits Japanese tradition at its best. Comprising a teahouse, a Japanese garden, and vast surroundings of vibrant nature, this impeccably designed villa promises impressive architecture in a beautifully tranquil environment.

  • Garyu Sanso Mountain Villa

    Garyu Sanso Mountain Villa

    Covering over 10,000 metre-squared of space atop a hill on the outskirts of the picturesque Ozu City, Garyu Sanso’s beautiful location is mirrored in every aspect of its design. Ozu City itself is often described as a Little Kyoto thanks to its location in a basin-like valley surrounded by mountains. Garyu Sanso, first built over 400 years ago, has also been compared to Kyoto’s honourable Katsura Imperial Villa which has given the area prestige over the last decade. Although the villa was left to grow wild following its ownership by feudal lords in the past, at the end of the 19th century the artistic merchant trader Torajiro Kochi put his heart and soul into the rebuilding of the structure and its grounds which took 10 years of planning followed by a further four years of building.

    Garyu Sanso Mountain Villa

    Garyu Sanso Mountain Villa

    Garyu Sanso Mountain Villa

    Garyu Sanso Mountain Villa

    Garyu Sanso was built in a typical tea house style known as sukiya-zukuri; and appropriately the villa’s tea house, the Garyu-in, is the main attraction of the three-building complex. In addition to the tea room there are the Furo-an and Chishi-an buildings which have been married together beautifully with the tea house demonstrating the meticulous design of the villa with not a single flaw in its construction or its high quality wood. Visitors can explore the buildings’ calming rooms decked out with tatami mats and paper sliding doors which look out onto the gardens. For guests stopping by on a Sunday or holiday between April and October, you can experience a live tea ceremony taking place and drink the scrupulously prepared matcha tea at the end.

    Garyu Sanso Mountain Villa

    Garyu Sanso Mountain Villa

    The architecture of Garyu Sanso doesn’t stand on its own without its adjoining Japanese gardens to complement it. The garden brims with a whole spectrum of trees, including cherry blossoms and maple trees which were planted by Yasutsune Kato, feudal lord and frequent visitor to the villa. The high concentration of sakura and maple trees in the gardens makes spring and autumn the best times to visit with the villa bathed in thick blossom in March and April or red and orange leaves which run from October well into the winter months.

    Garyu Sanso Mountain Villa

    Garyu Sanso Mountain Villa

    The main tea house boasts some of the best views over the iconic Hiji River, known for its crystal clear waters. The villa’s positioning is one of its key assets and one that was well thought out. The name Garyu, meaning reclining dragon, originates from its location below Mt. Horai which is said to look like a dragon lying down. Mt. Horai and its neighbour Mt. Tomisuyama, along with the Hiji River are part of what makes Garyu Sanso unique with its access to unrivalled views of the Ozu valley scenery. The tea house has also been perfectly positioned to reflect the moonlight’s rays into the room at night.

    Garyu Sanso Mountain Villa

    Garyu Sanso Mountain Villa

    Garyu Sanso (Mountain Villa)
    rating

    4.5

    123 Reviews
    place
    Ehime Pref. Ozushi Ozu 411-2
    phone
    0893243759
    opening-hour
    9:00-17:00 (Bill stop 16:30)

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