Garyu Sanso Garden OZU garyusanso

Garyu Sanso Garden

About Garyu Sanso Garden

Garyu Sanso Garden, built atop cliffs next to the Hiji-kawa River, has long been known as an "overlook garden" due to its excellent overlook view. In addition to the Hiji-kawa River in front of it, Tomisuyama, Kameyama and Yanaseyama and other magnificent natural scenes are also integrated into the Garyu Sanso Garden, which guides visitors along the narrow terrain and highlights the magnificent and open garden.
In addition, another major feature is the wonderful scenery enjoyed from the outside. This Garden is located in Garyu, a tourist attraction renowned for its natural landscape in this area since the Edo period. Garyu Sanso is still the representative landscape of Ozu, which perfectly combines the ingenious layout of buildings and gardens with natural landscapes.

Garyu Sanso Garden looking down from the sky

Charming Landscape throughout the Four Seasons of Garyu Sanso Garden

Spring Summer Autumn Winter

Guide Map of Garyu Sanso Garden


In the Edo period, Horaisan

The small island floating in the Hiji-kawa River was called “Garyu-San” in the Edo period, and then became known as “Horaisan” at some point.

In the Edo period, Horaisan was a place where everyone could enter and leave freely, with the top part of the hill used for ritual purposes, and the eastern part of the bay used as a dock for berthing riverboats and loading and unloading cargo.

After Torajiro acquired the land in 1899 (Meiji 32), Horaisan was planned as part of the Garyu Sanso Garden and renovated, and the Tounkyo bridge, as well as a teahouse was built. The stone wall remaining at the entrance to Horaisan is also believed to be the remains of a gate built during that period.

Horaisan looking down from the sky

  • Tounkyo

    Tounkyo two stone pillars

    Main Pillar of Tounkyo (Garden Side)

    In the Garden and on Horaisan, there are two stone pillars decorated with bulb shaped carvings on the top and engraved with “Tounkyo” characters. One of them is inscribed with the words “erected in June, Meiji 32(1899)”, which indicates that the bridge was erected to coordinate the construction of the Garyu Sanso Garden.
    It was described as “a bridge in a tangle of green wisteria vines” in a newspaper report at that time. Today, instead of the bridge, vines still grow around the Tounkyo, and are a reminder of that distant past.

  • Yorakutei

    Twelve Scenes of Ozu

    "Twelve Scenes of Ozu"depicting Tounkyo and Yorakutei on the screen painting
    (Collected by the Municipal Museum)

    From the screen painting in 1899 (Taisho 5), it can be seen that there used to be a building with round windows near the top of Horaisan. The title on the screen painting is “Making Tea in Yorakutei”, so this building assumed to be the teahouse named "Yorakutei".



The Garden was built by Uetoku, a Kobe garden designer, primarily using local diabase and green schist stones, as well as a large number of distinctive columnar rocks (from Kaminada, Futamicho, Iyo City) and other garden stones. In addition, carefully selected stones, such as the hand-size ballstones from the garden of Yodoya Tatsugoro in Osaka, were subtly placed in key areas of the Garden. The Garden was planted with trees that were popular at the time, such as Lagerstroemia indica and cedar trees, as well as trees that originally grew inside the stone walls preserved there, seeking symbiosis with nature. Torajiro, who was in Kobe at that time, gave detailed instructions for the construction of the Garden, and his aesthetic sense and originality are evident all over the Garden and in the meticulously crafted architecture.


  • Inscriptions at Furoan

    Inscriptions at Furoan

    Among the stone walls at the Furoan, there is a long sloping stone (244cm x 30cm) that is particularly striking. The stone is inscribed with the title of an emperor's reign of Meiji 32 (1899), and an inscription praising Tokuzo Yamamoto. It was in that year that Torajiro acquired the land, so we can deduce that the construction of the stone wall began immediately after the acquisition of the land, and two years later, in 1901 (Meiji 34), Furoan was completed. So it seems that that Furoan was given priority in the construction of Garyu Sanso Garden.

  • Remains of Wharf

    Remains of Wharf Stone steps

    A portion of the rock on the river bank facing the Garyu-no-fuchi was cut and worked into a platform and stone steps. It is presumed that this is the remains of a berthing wharf at that time, from which riverboats could directly access the inside of the Garden. Up from here along the stone steps, there are paths leading to Tounkyo and Chishian.

    It is assumed that from the berthing wharf, guests were directly delivered into the Garden in the past.

〔Garyu Sanso Garden and Torajiro Kochi〕

Built in the late Meiji period by Torajiro Kochi, a trader born in Ozu

Torajiro Kochi

The area around the Hiji-kawa River, where the Garyu Sanso Garden is located, has been a famous scenic spot since the Edo period, and the name of “Garyu (the Reclining Dragon)” is believed to be due to the shape of Horaisan, a small island in the Hiji-kawa River, resembling a reclining dragon. In the late Meiji period, the Garyu Sanso Garden was built with the Hiji-kawa River scenic area in front.

It was built by Torajiro Kochi (1853-1909) born in Niiya, Ozu City, a trader who made his fortune by exporting wood wax from his base in Kobe. In order to build villas in his hometown, Ozu, Torajiro bought this land in 1899 (Meiji 32) and constructed these buildings and gardens in 10 years. The three buildings of Garyu-in, Furoan and Library in the Garden have been designated as national important cultural heritage sites.

During the construction, famous craftsmen from Kyoto and gardeners from Kobe were hired, and Torao Nakano, a local master carpenter, was appointed to take charge of the overall situation. Torajiro, who was in Kobe, also gave detailed instructions on the selection of materials and detailed design, showing that Torajiro himself strove for perfection in construction.

However, in 1909 (Meiji 42), shortly after the completion of Garyu Sanso Garden, Torajiro became seriously ill in Kobe and died at the age of 56. Torajiro’s tomb was built on the opposite bank of Garyu Sanso Garden, facing and guarding the Garden even now.

1899(Meiji 32) The land of Garyu Sanso Garden and Horaisan was acquired
Construction of stone walls under the Furoan
1990(Meiji 33) Construction of Furoan began
1901 (Meiji 34) The construction of Furoan was completed
1903(Meiji 36) Additional land of Garyu Sanso Garden was acquired
1904(Meiji 37) Construction of Garyu-in began
The library frame was completed
1905(Meiji 38) The main beam of Garyu-in was raised
1906(Meiji 39) The construction of Chishian (bathroom) was completed
1909(Meiji 42) Torajiro Kochi died (age of 56)

From Ozu downtown to Garyu Sanso Garden

From Ozu downtown to Garyu Sanso Garden