PHILOSOPHY

A Path to Progress
Looking Back the History and Grace of Kyoto and Kikusui.

During the Meiji Restoration, Japan was in a transformational era in the pursuit of an independent culture. At this time, the Japanese gardener “Ueji” also known as “Jihei Ogawa the seventh”, worked on the villa gardens of the famous Nanzenji area and broke the mold by creating a new, modern style of Japanese landscape architecture. Around 1895, Kikusui opened as a vacation home for the kimono merchant “Teramura Sukuemon" where he would eventually meet the famous Kyoto chef “Itamae Shinzo” in the garden and Kikusui would make its mark in time as a Japanese restaurant and inn hosting a countless number of guests. We are pleased to announce the inception of a new Kikusui, where culture and identity, and future and tradition meet.

History of Kikusui

Along the long avenue of pine trees of Nanzenji Temple, Kikusui began its history around 1895, originally as a villa built for Teramura Suke-emon, a former kimono merchant.

On the site of about 820 tsubo (2710sqm), there are a wonderful “chisen-kaiyushiki” garden (Japanese garden with a pond in the center) and sukiya-style buildings with the best of Japanese architecture created by so-called the pioneer of modern gardens, Jihei Ogawa the seventh, or also known as “Ueji.” As a place with a magnificent view of Higashiyama in the back, Kikusui sat there for a long time at the same place since Meiji Era.

In the garden of Kikusui, there is a pond which imitates the shape of Lake Biwa. There is an anecdote saying that a bridge has already existed on the pond at the same place where the present Omi Bridge is located, hoping for the future to enrich the lives of people by receiving the blessings of Lake Biwa Canal. The weeping cherry tree which is said to be the brother tree from one of the most famous cherry blossoms in Kyoto at Maruyama Park, and in the autumn, Japanese maple leaves (momiji) color the garden as the season changes. The tea room made with the permission from tea ceremony master, and the stone lanterns related to Toyotomi Hideyoshi (a warlord during Sengoku period) add the uniqueness to the garden. Later in 1955, “Ryori Ryokan Kikusui” (Japanese auberge Kikusui) was born, preserving the graceful garden, landscape, and appearance even the owners changed many a times.

Then and Now -- The Flow of Time that Kikusui has Inherited

What Kikusui has built up since Meiji Era.
Sceneries surrounded by silence and Kyoto emotions, scenic gardens that change in the seasons as well as the buildings creating history, there were always connections between the people who met at Kikusui. It has become renowned as a “Japanese Auberge” when Kikusui met one chef.

Kikusui encountered with Shinzo Itamae, a famous chef who was said to be one of the best three chefs in Kyoto cuisine. His cuisine, which incorporates traditional culinary techniques from various Kyoto culture and art into the cuisine, expresses on a plate-by-plate basis, attracting guests who visit the place, and respected by many chefs and restaurant owners. Like then, Kikusui has spent the time together with history providing place and time to the guests to enjoy food and special moment.