La Dolce Vita at Nikko: a beautiful blend of Western and Japanese architecture

villa_exterior

Once upon a time, Lake Chuzenji in Tochigi Prefecture was a fashionable summer resort for foreign diplomats in Japan. In 1928, the Italian ambassador to Japan commissioned this lovely villa, which is now open to the public. I visited last month and have just published an article about it for Artscape Japan. Please check it out for history, loving detail and an explanation for how to get there — no easy feat.

villa_veranda

The most striking feature is the ceiling done in ajiro-ori, a traditional wickerwork often seen in chashitsu (teahouses). Here it is in a kikkō (tortoise shell) pattern.

villa_kikko

While there, I happened to stumble upon THE flower event of the season, the wild Japanese primrose (Primula japonica) in full, glorious bloom.

Kurinso_1

In Japanese, this flower is called kurinsō because it resembles a “kurin” 九輪, which is the top portion of a pagoda. This is a good reason to visit Nikko and Lake Chuzenji in mid-June. The other is that June is off season, fall being the peak tourist season. Avoid weekends, if at all possible, and take the train.

kurinso_2

 

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This entry was posted in ajiro, Alice Gordenker, Antonin Raymond, Chuzenjiko, foreign diplomats in Japan, Italian Embassy Villa, Japanese architecture, Lake Chuzenji, Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture. Bookmark the permalink.

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