Research for Shugakuin and Katsura Rikyu Villa

Date: 13-15 July 2016
Venue: Shugakuin Rikyu Villa/Katsura Rikyu Villa
(Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, Japan)

We visited two cinematic architectural gardens in Kyoto to have an experience to analyse the cinématic features they have. One is an elegant example, Sugakuin Rikyu Villa, which provides an opportunity for a cinematic experience in which visitors can journey through various scenes visually designed in the same concept as English Landscape Gardens. Another is Katsura Rikyu Villa in which many well-known architects including Bruno Taut admired the aesthetics of each building’s compositions being set in the garden even though it is smaller than Shugakuin Rikyu Villa.

Shugakuin Rikyu Villa has the mechanism that assembles still images to become a movie if we view the whole garden as one huge space when we have a journey following an hour program set by the National Imperial Household Agency. It can be deemed as the same concept as English Landscape gardens such as the Stourhead, Wiltshire (photograph below left). Maybe the difference is that all the buildings like cottages, tea houses or turrets in two Villas can be used as architecture on the other hand the Follies in the English landscape gardens are more to see from outside as a component of the garden and not used as building. Therefore the views from inside the space are included in the visual program as one of the elements of Japanese gardens. Passengers’s memories stay put in each place in the garden and the narratives are produced in both types of Japanese and English gardens.