Another of my favourite quiet gardens of Kyoto is the beautiful Okochi Sanso. Formally owned by Japanese actor Okochi Denjiro, his house and gardens have now been opened to the public.
Since it was built on the top of a hill, the gardens wind up hill – little stone paths leading from moss garden to shinto shrine to rock garden. It also offers some of the most incredible scenic views of Kyoto, and in the spring time the surrounding hills are dotted with clouds of cherry blossom.
If you’re not visiting in cherry blossom season, don’t worry – the garden is designed to highlight all four seasons; cherry blossom, azaleas, Japanese maple and pine.
Another one of my favourite things about this garden is that the entry fee also includes a cup of matcha tea and a sweet treat, which can be enjoyed in the little tea house after you’ve finished exploring. We often take our time here, as the views into the bamboo forest below are surreal and the atmosphere is so wonderfully peaceful.
How to get there: We tend to visit Okochi Sanso after exploring Arashiyama bamboo forest, as the entrance is directly in front of the end of the bamboo path.
Get the JR line from Kyoto station to Saga-Arashiyama station, and walk the ten minutes through Arashiyama bamboo forest. Admire the hush of the forest en route (or the bustling crowds depending on the time of day you’re heading there)! and head to Okochi Sanso, right at the end of the pathway.
8 Tabushiyama-cho, Saga Ogurayama, Ukyo-ku // 右京区嵯峨小倉山田淵山町８
Opening hours: 09:00 – 17:00
Admission: 1000 yen (includes a cup of matcha and sweet cake)