The Rokasensui Villa on Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture was built in 1921 and was the holiday home for Japanese painter Shunkyo Yamamoto. In 1994 it was listed as an important cultural property. In 2008, a 190 sqm parcel of the 1230 sqm estate was sold to a private buyer and from August, 2010, an average modern home was built on the site. The Agency for Cultural Affair decided to de-list the smaller parcel of land after it was sold to a third party.
The new home is built right behind the old villa. The owner of the Villa said he inherited the home 15 years ago, after it had been listed, and was not aware of the terms of the historical listing.
This is the first time since the cultural registration program began in 1897 whereby part of a property has been de-listed. According to the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs, there are a total of 2381 important cultural properties in Japan. There have been 100 properties that have been de-listed over the years, including the Nagoya Castle which was bombed in 1945 and Kyoto’s Kinkaku-ji (Temple of the Golden Pavilion) which was burned down by an arsonist in 1950 (it was later rebuilt in 1955).
The villa is open to the public but tours must be booked in advance. Entrance fees for adults are 500 Yen.
1-19-23 Nakasho, Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture
5 min walk from Kawaragahama Station
The Chunichi Shimbun, October 22, 2011.
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