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Katsura Imperial Villa
Built in the 17th century as a villa for Prince Hachijo Toshihito, Katsura Imperial Villa is considered to be of a purely Japanese design. It is often said to be among the best Japanese architectural and landscaping treasures.
The villa features a few teahouses, both with spectacular views of the garden, bridges, a central pond, and a few other structures. There is a recreation of the famous view at Amanohashidate in the garden, viewable from the Shokintei. One of the best views of the garden was purposefully ruined with a pine tree planted on the spot. It's typical of Japanese gardens that it should never be possible to view the entire garden from one spot.
You must make a reservation at the Imperial Household Agency in order to tour the villa. Reservations can be made up to three months in advance. Katsura Imperial Villa is very popular, so it is wise to put in your reservation on the first day of the month three months prior to the month you wish to visit. The tours are completely free, so if you are accepted, print out your reservation and bring it. It will be your ticket. The tours are in Japanese-only, but they have books and a pamphlet about the villa in English available.
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"It's good to be King" - Katsura Imperial Villa
The gardens here are distinguished by carefully planned views from the surrounding buildings. The uniquely decorated tea house has windows that frame breathtaking views. Door hinges and hardware are extremely detailed and well crafted. "Considered one of the finest examples of Japanese architecture" for good reason.
32 different features pictured in the English language "Pocket Guide 3" make this a rich and rewarding experience.
Tour in Japanese (only) by reservation (only) from the Imperial Household Agency at the Kyoto Imperial PALACE.
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