Okochi-Sanso Villa is one of the top sights in Kyoto. It rivals any of the city’s imperial properties, and you don’t need reservations to enter.
Formerly the estate of the famed film actor Okochi Denjiro (1898-1962), this sublime villa and surrounding gardens are now open to the public. Many people balk at the Y1,000 admission fee, but we think it’s worth shelling out to see this place, especially since the admission fee includes a nice Japanese sweet and a cup of hot matcha tea (hold onto your ticket in order to get these in the teahouse at the conclusion of the tour). The main house here is one of the finest examples of traditional Japanese residential architecture anywhere and the teahouse is a wabi-sabi gem.