Okochi-Sanso Villa is one of the top sights in Kyoto. It rivals any of the city’s imperial properties, and you don’t need reservations to enter.
Okochi Sanso villa © mshades
Formerly the estate of the famed film actor Okochi Denjiro (1898-1962), this sublime villa and surrounding gardens are now open to the public. Many people balk at the Y1,000 admission fee, but we think it’s worth shelling out to see this place, especially since the admission fee includes a nice Japanese sweet and a cup of hot matcha tea (hold onto your ticket in order to get these in the teahouse at the conclusion of the tour). The main house here is one of the finest examples of traditional Japanese residential architecture anywhere and the teahouse is a wabi-sabi gem.
But it’s the gardens here that really boggle the mind. Follow the standard route, which is clearly indicated with arrows, and you’ll see all the important parts, including a viewpoint that offers views across the whole city and a lovely little Shinto shrine. Frankly, we usually counsel visitors who are thinking of going through the admission process to see one of Kyoto’s imperial properties to skip the hassle and just come here. Here, there’s no application procedure and you can explore at your own pace – no following a tour guide with a group of strangers.
Walking Tour: Okochi-Sanso Villa features in our Private Walking Tour of Arashiyama
English address: 8 Tabushiyama-cho, Saga Ogurayama, Ukyo-ku
Japanese address: 右京区嵯峨小倉山田淵山町８
Opening hours: 9:00am-5:00pm
Adults and College and High school students: Y1000
Junior high and elementary school students: Y500
Non-smoking area: Yes
15 min walk from Arashiyama Station, Keifuku dentetsu, Arashiyama line
25 min walk from Arashiyama Station, Henkyu railway
Where Is This Place Located?See these places on our Kyoto Google map:
- Open the Kyoto map
- You will see the list of places on the left hand side. (Click the 3-line icon in the top left corner if not). Scroll down or use the map search (the magnifying glass icon) to find the place you want.
- Click the name of the place in the list. Its location pin will be highlighted on the map.
- Map pins are color coded - BLUE: Hotels | VIOLET: Ryokan | PINK: Places to Eat | YELLOW: Things to See and Do
- If you're using the map on your phone, open the map and then search for the name of the place. The map will then zoom in on its location.
See my complete list of hand-picked recommendations for Arashiyama, including things to do, places to eat and places to stay.
Kyoto Vacation Checklist
- Check Kyoto accommodation availability on Booking.com - usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too.
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Buy a data-only SIM card online for collection when you arrive at Kansai International Airport (for Osaka and Kyoto) or Tokyo's Narita Airport
- Compare Japan flight prices and timings to find the best deals
- If you're visiting more than one city, get your Japan Rail Pass
- Get travel insurance for Japan - we recommend World Nomads (and here's why)