come to mind, but they are a rare breed indeed. Heyan-kyo is one of them, and being mostly closed to the public it's not easy to see it. But they do open a few days per year and the visit is free, including the tea. The property consists of a large garden with small buildings here and there: a couple of tea houses and couple of living quarters. The buildings have none of the architectural interest you will see in the two other examples mentioned above, but the garden makes up for it by being properly huge and by having nice large lawns, all very well tended.
When I visited the second time I was surprised to see that a few of their staff were foreigners. It turns out the place belongs to the founder of a sect (or maybe a cult, I'm not sure), and the foreigners were scholars visiting an important place for their faith. To be honest I didn't understand much, absorbed that I was in taking pictures. But I was very pleasantly surprised by their friendliness and openness, something I did not expect given the place is usually locked down and pretty secretive.
You'd have to be very lucky or time your trip to Kyoto carefully to see this place, but then again that is true for many beautiful places that do not open regularly.
Recommended for: Access:
Nearby: Daikaku-ji 大覚寺 (1.1km)Satellite view, Map
Keywords: Japan, 日本, Japon, Kyoto, 京都, 嵐山, arashiyama, 平安郷, Heian-kyō
Photos of Heian-kyō:
- id: 516, 24 photos (7 extra photos can be found in the archive).