Sunday, September 14, 2014

Nagoya : Yokiso

Nagoya is one of the leading industrial centres and one of the biggest cities in Japan. However it is not popular as a tourist centre. But the city does have some amazing spots that one can visit. While a few like the Nagoya Castle or Sakae are well known, a few spots like Yokiso are relatively lesser known. 

Tucked away in the bylanes of Kakuozan, Yokiso is a beautiful villa built in the early 1900s by Ito Suketami the 15th, the founder and first President of the Matsuzakaya Company. It was his home and during the time it flourished as a reception hall and a place for social gatherings especially to host international students. A wide travelled man, Ito Sutekami the 15th was a philanthropist who believed in the fostering an international community. 

Originally, Yokiso was spread over 33000 sq mtrs of land to the east of Nittai-ji temple and comprised of more than 30 buildings. The property suffered significant damage during the WW II air raids and only a handful of buildings and the garden remain now. The garden is now divided into Northern Premises and Southern Premises; both premises are 200 meters apart.  

The main building, the Choshokaku stands in the southern premises and is open to public. The three story wooden house was completed in 1937 and is a blend of European, Japanese, Chinese and Indian styles. 

 While the exteriors are in western style, the roof is made of Japanese tiles.  The interiors of the first and second floor are in western style, the rooms on the third floor are in Japanese style. The woodwork is influenced by Chinese style and the walls are adorned by a series of large murals painted by Indian artists. Immediately after the war, the Choshokaku was taken over by the Allied forces and it served as a Commander residence until 1952. Between 1961-1979, it even served as a dormitory for Matsuzakaya workers. 

The Bangaro, (the Japanese pronunciation of English Bungalow) is a wooden building located in the Northern Premises. 

The garden in the Northern Premises was influenced by the Shugakuin Imperial villa garden in Kyoto. Previously the tea house in the garden was used to enjoy tsuki-mi, the moon viewing parties. The garden is said to be beautiful in the cherry blossom season and autumn foliage season. 
The Hakuun Bridge is a corridor bridge in the north garden and is said to have been inspired by the Chitose Bridge in the Shugakuin Imperial Villa, Kyoto. A dragon painting adorns the ceiling of the bridge.

A shrine and few other structures can be seen in the garden. Few views from the north garden.

A trip to Yokiso can be combined with a visit to the neighboring Nittai-ji temple

Address: 464-0057 Nagoya, Chikusa ku, Hoo-cho 2-5-21

Phone: 052-759-4450

Entrance fees: 
Southern Premises- Choshokaku - Adult 300 yen ; Up to Jr High School : Free
Northern Premises - Free

Opening Hours: 9:30 am to 4:30 pm

Closing days: Weekly on Mondays and from Dec 29-Jan 3rd each year. 

Access: Nearest station - Kakuozan subway station on the Higashiyama Line 

Car Parking: Not available.

Official Website: 

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