Old Mitsui Family Shimogamo Villa: An awe-inspiring example of traditional Japanese architecture

Nestled in the serene district of Shimogamo in Kyoto, the Old Mitsui Family Shimogamo Villa stands to the city’s rich cultural history. This estate was built in 1925 with its meticulously preserved architecture and compact gardens. It offers visitors a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of the Mitsui family. The family was one of the most influential merchant families in Japan during the early 20th century.

Upon entering the villa, visitors are immediately transported back in time to a world of luxury and refinement. The estate’s main building, which was once the family’s residence, is a stunning example of traditional Japanese architecture. The wooden beams, tatami mats, and intricate details of the sliding doors and shoji screens are a testament to the skill and artistry of the craftsmen who built the villa.

One of the highlights of the villa is its beautiful Japanese garden at the rear of the property. The garden is a stunning blend of nature and art. It features carefully manicured trees and bushes, serene ponds, and charming bridges. Visitors can stroll along the garden paths, taking in the peaceful atmosphere and admiring the carefully crafted landscapes.

Another notable feature of the villa is the tea room, which was once used for the family’s tea ceremonies. The tea room is a simple, elegant space decorated with calligraphy and paintings. Visitors can experience the traditional Japanese tea ceremony while admiring the beauty of the room.

In addition to its architectural and natural beauty, the Old Mitsui Family Shimogamo Villa also has an interesting history. The Mitsui family were one of the most powerful and wealthy merchant families in Japan during the early 20th century, and they used their influence to support the arts and culture. The family’s patronage helped to fund many of the famous temples and shrines in Kyoto, and their support of the arts helped to establish the city as a cultural centre of Japan.

Visitors to the villa can learn more about the Mitsui family and their legacy through the many artefacts and exhibits on display. The estate features a collection of antique furniture, ceramics, and other treasures that were once owned by the family. There are also displays that detail the family’s history and their contributions to Kyoto’s cultural heritage.

The Japanese government has recognized the Old Mitsui Family Shimogamo Villa as an important heritage site. A visit to the villa is a must for anyone interested in Japanese history, culture, and architecture. The estate’s beauty and elegance, combined with its rich history, make it a unique and unforgettable experience. Strolling through the gardens, admire the traditional architecture and learn about the family’s contributions to Kyoto. You will be glad you did!

How to get to the Old Mitsui Family Shimogamo Villa

It is easy to get to Old Mitsui Family Shimogamo Villa from Kyoto Station. Take the number 4 bus to “Demachi Yanagi Eki mae” bus stop. Alternatively, take the number 205 bus to “Aoibashi Nishizume” bus stop. For each, you will have to walk for a couple of minutes to get to the residence. Each will cost ¥230 one-way.

Alternatively, you can walk from Kyoto Station to Shichijō Station (1.0 km, 0.62 miles, approx. 14 minutes). From there, take one of the Keihan Line trains to Demachiyanagi Station. All that is left is a short walk. This will cost ¥270.

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