26th February: Nikko – Tamozawa Imperial Villa

Imperial doll set in the lobby – Emperor & Empress, Ladies in Waiting, Musicians, Daimyo etc

Painted wall partitions

Gardens (Memorial Park) of Villa

I still had an hour or two left of daylight and visited the Tamozawa Imperial Villa, not far from where I was staying.  Fortunately, hand-held photography was allowed inside.

Wall painting, either directly on to the wall, or onto paper affixed to the wall.

The villa was originally an Edo residence of the Tokugawa family, who effectively ruled Japan from 1600 until the Meiji Restoration in 1868.  Following the Meiji Restoration the residence was moved to Nikko and became an Imperial Villa.  There were extensive additions made by the Crown Prince who later became the Taisho Emperor (1912-1926).   After the second war it became a museum and it was extensively renovated between 1996 and 2000.

A painted corner

A red-crested crane, like the living ones in the posts for Hokkaido

The elegance of zen-influenced architecture from the Tokugawa period, coupled with the Japanese influence on Western art and design, can make the interior look quite modern at the same time as historic.  Sliding partitions separate the rooms and the partitions may be translucent or opaque.

Leaving the villa, I gingerly walked across the icy main road in the falling snow, then looked up and saw a bus stop.  So I looked around and there was a bus coming in, so I got on.  The buses aren’t that frequent so this was timely and fortunate.

Shinkyo Bridge

I caught the bus so I could see the Shinkyo Bridge before it got dark; walking would probably have taken too long.  You can pay to walk across it, but it was closed for that anyway.  The bridge was built in 1636 for shoguns and imperial messengers visiting the shrines though the original one disappeared in a flood and the current one (no doubt an exact copy) dates to 1907.

Rapids below the bridge

A small Shinto shrine beside the road – but why are there rocks atop the gateway?

Another view of the bridge

The last image is part of the temple complex where I would be going the next day.  Not far from the road, from its map location I’d say this is part of Rinnoji Temple-Sanbutudo.

3 comments on “26th February: Nikko – Tamozawa Imperial Villa

  1. Lesley says:

    Very interesting story and images the snow gives the place a special atmosphere.


    • Murray Foote says:

      Thanks very much, Lesley.

      The Villa was a pleasant surprise because it’s not the most obvious destination in Nikko and the snow, as you say, makes everything quite magical.


  2. […] 26th February:  Nikko – Tamozawa Imperial Villa […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s