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  • Shona McCarthy

When You Fail At Going To The Katsura Rikyu


Sometimes, when you go to visit a tourist location, things can go wrong. If it was hard to get to and impossible to enter, you may wonder how you can recoup the lost time. Here is one of the ways.

(A house near the Katsura Rikyu. Taken by me in 2017.)

A day came when I attempted to visit the Katsura Rikyu in Kyoto. It’s a beautiful villa once owned by feudal Japanese Imperials. What I learned through the internet was that you can only tour it if you apply for permission from the Kunaicho, or the Japanese Royal Household Department. What I learned the hard way is that it isn’t like Kyoto Imperial Palace, where you can still visit outer areas and courtyards without a booking. It really is the case that the only part of The Katsura Rikyu you can visit unannounced is the carpark. And even then, members of the Kunaicho were looking at me funny. So, upon being informed by the Katsura Rikyu staff that my visit was a complete failure, I decided to make the most of my time by visiting the surrounding streets. Perhaps not surprisingly, many of the nearby streets and houses feature beautifully manicured gardens and examples of traditional Japanese architecture. These are often well maintained and therefore make an excellent subject for photographs.

Nearby there is also a river and a bridge, where other pleasant and relaxing photos can be taken. I can imagine that a couple with a slightly grunge sensibility might sit on the banks for a picnic. I’ve since learned that this is the Katsura River, the same river than runs through Arashiyama, Saga.

In other words, even if you can’t go to the Katsura Imperial Villa itself, you can still have a good time in the area. Highly recommended.

(Images I took near the Katsura Rikyu. 2017)


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