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“An unexpected delight”

Okochi Sanso Garden
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Private Custom Tour: Kyoto in One Day
Ranked #24 of 1,074 things to do in Kyoto
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
86 reviews
35 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“An unexpected delight”
Reviewed February 15, 2013

We (husband and 10 year old daughter) spent a few moments contemplating whether it would be worth the walk up the path and the entrance fee after we had walked through the Bamboo Grove. We are so glad we decided to give it a go. We're not gardeners by any stretch of the imagination but it is such as lovely and serene place. The view is magnificent and we appreciated the effort that has gone into designing and maintaining these formal gardens. The tea and cake are definitely aquired tastes but we persisted. The contemplation room (not sure of the official title) was a lovely space to write a reflection of our visit, which we sent home as postcard (note, children are not allowed in this space). The area where information is provided about Denjirō Ōkōchi was quite interesting too. We easily spent a few hours here before descending for a late lunch in Kyoto.

Visited October 2012
4 Thank jdeandrew
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Level Contributor
242 reviews
106 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 168 helpful votes
“Go in the autumn”
Reviewed November 27, 2012

While the entry fee is so steep, the place is absolutely gorgeous when the autumn colors is at its height. Entry also includes tea and cake. The gardens are lovely and you can climb to the back where you can get a glimpse of the valley below and a temple on the opposite side.

Visited November 2012
1 Thank SG_Travelbugs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ilkeston, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
192 reviews
145 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 270 helpful votes
“Great gardens & views”
Reviewed November 19, 2012

Silent movie star Denjiro Okochi's acting style may have been a little over the top, but he certainly had very refined taste when it came to gardens. Situated right at the northern end of the Bamboo Grove/Forest this very bushy stroll garden provides lovely walks and great views over the west towards the Hoso Gorge & at the front, eastwards towards Kyoto. Maybe it's the price (1000Yen) but the place gets less visitors than it deserves. It is really quite extensive and rather different from the temple gardens of the city.
Included in the price are a Japanese sweet (lovely), green tea (not so lovely to Western tastes) and a postcard, in a teahouse where you can see the Bamboo grove. Entrance to the actors house is not included however.
You need to be fairly ambulant to cope with the walkways, which may be slippery when wet, and they are not suitable for wheelchairs - or really for pushchairs either.

Visited October 2012
Thank Jeffrey F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, UK
Level Contributor
124 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 210 helpful votes
Reviewed September 11, 2012

There are so many temples and other sights to see across Kyoto, and choosing the best is not easy. Without doubt the best are reserved for those willing to walk. I recommend that you visit the Japan National Tourism Organisation website at www.jnto.go.jp and download PDF PG-503 – “Kyoto Walks”. We followed two of these recommended walks and they were an excellent way to see the main shrines and temples of major interest.

In Arashiyama we visited the temples of Seiryoji, Tenryuji (a World Heritage site and Gioji. We also visited the Okoshi Sanso Garden.

The Okoshi Sanso Gardens were incredibly impressive, and would certainly have my vote of a must see in Kyoto, if you visit Arashiyama. They can be reached via the iconic Bamboo Grove. Pricey at ¥1000 (includes a cup of tea), but well worth it. The gardens were laid out by a former Japanese actor, but continue to be maintained to a most impeccable standard. Climbing up a steep hillside they give lovely views of Kyoto. Definitely worth a visit.

Depending upon where you start, I would recommend traveling to Arashiyama on the private Keifuku Railway, which takes you to Arashiyama in the heart of the temples complex. We picked up this line from the end of the Tozai subway line at Uzumasa which connect directly to the Randen-Tenjingawa station for the Keifuku Railway.

Visited September 2012
4 Thank Peter_R_Smith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan
Level Contributor
91 reviews
51 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 250 helpful votes
“Beautiful gardens and great views of Kyoto”
Reviewed August 2, 2012

I'd read about Okochisanso in my Rough Guide: Japan, and decided to pay it a visit on my second trip to Arashiyama. Once the reisdence of a famous film star, Denjirō Ōkōchi, the villa features a Japanese-style home, tea houses and shrines scattered about steep paths and multiple gardens. Because it's on a hill, you have a fantastic vantage point for viewing Kyoto. While wandering the many inviting paths, I discovered overgrown stone lanterns, mossy steps, and slinky cats right out of a Miyazaki film.

There is also a small open-air museum dedicated to the actor (all the information in in Japanese only). A cup of matcha (green tea) and a Japanese sweet are included in the price of your admission, and you can enjoy them looking out at the bamboo forest (the Sagano scenic train runs quite close to the villa, so you'll likely see / hear the train as well!). This is a very pleasant (if a bit athletic) garden experience with plenty of paths to explore, and is well worth a visit.

Visited May 2012
1 Thank Bundtlust
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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