- Shugakuin Imperial Villa on the slopes of Mount Hiei in the cooler north east of the city was built as a summer retreat for the Imperial family in 1659. It consists of the main villa, upper, middle and lower gardens and a number of tea-houses and summer cottages where the nobility amused themselves writing haiku (short poems), drinking tea and sake while viewing the summer moons. The gardens make much use of the technique of borrowed scenery using the impressive Mount Hiei as a backdrop. Admissions for tours (in Japanese) are free but reservations must be made at the Imperial Household Agency in the main central Palace compound. You will also be expected to show your passport when applying for a tour.
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