Tochigi Prefecture is making plans to restore and open up the former villa of the British Embassy on Lake Chuzenji to the public as a way to promote tourism in the Nikko area.
The prefecture has allocated 6 million Yen in their 2012 budget to start work on analyzing the foundations and earthquake-resistance of the villa. After carrying out any necessary repairs, the villa is scheduled to be open to the public from 2014.
The villa was constructed in 1896 by Sir Ernest Mason Satow. It was closed in 2008 and in 2010 it was donated to the prefecture.
Oku-Nikko is one of the foremost sightseeing spots in Tochigi Prefecture. It forms part of the Nikko National Park and includes Lake Chuzenji. Many foreign embassies built beautiful holiday villas around the lake, some of which are open to the public. Unfortunately the tourism industry in Tochigi has been suffering following the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
The Shimotsuke Shimbun, January 21, 2012.