Gardens in Northern Higashiyama

Often overlooked by the hordes that descend on the Higashiyama area, this elegant villa was the home of prominent statesman Yamagata Aritomo (1838–1922) and the site of a pivotal 1903 political conference as Japan was heading into the Russo-Japanese War. Built in 1896, the grounds contain well-preserved wooden buildings, including a fine Japanese tearoom. The Western-style annexe is characteristic of Meiji-period architecture and the serene garden features small streams that draw water from the Biwa-ko Sosui canal.

For ¥600 you can savour a bowl of frothy matcha (powdered green tea) with a sweet while viewing the shakkei backdrop of the Higashiyama Mountains. It’s particularly beautiful in the maple-leaf season of November.