Ichijo Ekan Sanso: The Elegant Spirit of Kyoto, Alive in the Natural Splendor of Kamakura
Ichijo Ekan Sanso is a mountain villa that was once run by Ichijo Ekan, a court noble at the 17th-century dawn of the Edo period and the 9th son of Emperor Go-Yozei. In 1959, the villa was disassembled and moved from the Nishigamo neighborhood of Kyoto to be reconstructed in Kamakura. Even the villa's garden stones and dry landscape garden were moved along with the building. Today, the garden is laid out just as it was originally. The ancient capital of Kamakura is not only a place where the culture of the samurai is alive and well; when you set foot in the garden at Ichijo Ekan Sanso, you will experience the majestic atmosphere and culture of Japan's Imperial Court.
Designed by Ekan himself, the rustic villa building was a vacation home for the imperial family. Everywhere you look, you will find the elegant style and spirit of the Japanese countryside. The building was originally constructed during the same period as the imperial villas of Katsura and Shugakuin in Kyoto. In 1964, it was designated an Important Cultural Property of Japan.
Guided tours of the interior of the building are available irregularly.
*For tour schedules and booking information, please see the official website.
Located around the villa are modern gardens and buildings in the sukiya architectural style.
The Kyoto teahouse-style garden conveys a sense of graceful beauty, with Japanese red pine and maple trees overhead, and kuma bamboo grass and moss at your feet.
As you take a stroll and feel the passage of the seasons, you might even forget that this is a place not far from downtown Kamakura.
The Nameri River that runs through the garden gets its name from the Japanese word "nameraka," meaning "smooth," as it flows smoothly over the rocks of Kamakura. With no manmade protection on its shores, this area is a place to see nature in its purest form.
Benches can be found in several places around the garden, allowing visitors to take a seat, relax, and listen to the river's babbling brooks and the chirping of the birds.
Cafe Yamamomotei stands in a spot that overlooks the Nameri River and the surrounding gardens.
While gazing out the large windows at the natural sights, guests here can enjoy matcha, seasonal tea snacks, coffee, desserts, and other treats.
Available year-round, the Daigo Cake ("Daigo" in this case being a name for the Buddhist concept of nirvana) is a stylish and scrumptious dish in which cheesecake inspired by the waxing and waning of the moon is garnished with "moss" made from matcha crumbs.
In one corner of the garden, a heart motif is waiting to be discovered. Looks like gardeners like to have fun every now and then, too.
One of the great things about Japanese gardens is that they offer a new host of visual delights from one season to the next. The beauty of the colors in autumn stands out above all.
Events including Japanese candy-making activities and tea ceremonies are also held here, making this a place you will want to visit again and again throughout the year.
Address5-1-10 Jomyoji Temple, Kamakura City, Kanagawa Prefecture
Business Hour10: 00-16: 00 (admission until 15:30) Closed days: Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays and other events ■ Admission fee: 500 yen * Preschool children cannot enter.
Stroll through gardens that change with the seasons while gazing at modern Sukiya style buildings.
Our Cafe Yamamomotei is a great place to relax in a spot overlooking the gardens and the Nameri River.
Ichijo Ekan Sanso has been designated a National Important Cultural Property and Architectural Monument. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation with our preservation goals, and we look forward to your visit.
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