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.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Northern Higashiyama attractions

1. Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art

0.22 MILES

This fine museum holds several major exhibitions a year, as well as a variety of free shows. It’s always worth stopping by to see if something is on while…

2. Konchi-in

0.23 MILES

Just southwest of the main precincts of Nanzen-ji, this fine subtemple has a wonderful garden designed by Kobori Enshū, known as the Crane and Tortoise…

3. Okazaki-kōen Area

0.26 MILES

Okazaki-kōen is an expanse of parks and canals that lies between Niōmon-dōri and Heian-jingū. Two of Kyoto’s significant museums can be found here – the…

4. National Museum of Modern Art

0.29 MILES

This museum is renowned for its Japanese ceramics and paintings. There is an outstanding permanent collection, which includes many pottery pieces by Kawai…

5. Tenju-an

0.31 MILES

A subtemple of Nanzen-ji, Tenju-an is located on the south side of San-mon, the main gate of Nanzen-ji. Constructed in 1337, Tenju-an has a splendid…

7. Shōren-in

0.36 MILES

This temple is hard to miss, with its giant camphor trees growing just outside the walls. Fortunately, most tourists march right on past, heading to the…

8. Nomura Museum

0.38 MILES

This museum is a 10-minute walk north of Nanzen-ji. Exhibits include scrolls, paintings, implements used in tea ceremonies and ceramics that were…