At the Uchiko train station I boarded a local train that would take me a bit over 10 km to my final sightseeing destination of the day. I got off at Ozu, which is another small town in the western part of Shikoku. Ozu had a couple of places I wanted to visit and on my way to the first one I passed through a preserved part of town that made me feel like I had jumped back in time by 50 years or so.
The first of my two sightseeing stops in Ozu was at the Garyu Sanso Villa. This property was built in the early 1900s and served as the retirement home of a wealthy businessman. Inspiration for the villa’s design came from imperial residences in Kyoto and after taking a full decade of planning out the design of the villa it would then take an additional four years for construction to be complete.
Upon entering the villa I first toured the main building, called the Garyu-in. This was the living space of the villa and at first it might not seem all that special but the more you look the more small details you find in it. All throughout the house there are interesting design choices in the windows, latticework, wall shelves, artwork, and even the ceiling.
Just outside of the Garyu-in is a small teahouse called the Chishi-an. When the villa was first constructed this was actually a bathroom the only way into it is the small square entrance you see in the photo.
Further back in the villa is an elegant Japanese garden and at the edge of the property is a thatched-roof building called Furo-an that overlooks a bend in the Hijikawa River. Supported by both wooden stilts and a living tree, Furo-an has a good view of the surrounding area and it is designed to capture the glow of the moon reflecting in the river at night.
I was fortunate to visit the Garyu Sanso Villa when there were only one or two other people there, so it almost felt like I had the whole place to myself and I could take a relaxed pace as I toured the property. Once I was done there I headed over to Ozu Castle, which will be the subject of tomorrow’s post.
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