Thursday, 24 May 2012

A Chateau Up The Hill

On our way walking from Matsuyama Station to Dogo Onsen, we chanced upon this lovely villa up on a hill. Intrigued, we decided to make a quick stop to check the place out.

At the gate, there was a man in full military costume (ala Napoleon not Japanese soldier). Curiousity made me approached him but it seems that he wasn't really an official part of the villa - well maybe he is. He charged a fee for visitors to take photos with him. I think it was 100yen per photo per person or something.
 
 
 
 
The place is called Bansuiso Villa and was built by Count Hisamatsu Sadakoto in 1922. Count Hisamatsu Sadakoto was a direct descesdant of Matsuyama feudal lord.

The French influence came from the fact the the Count spent an extended period of time in France as the resident military attache and was completely besotted with the French style of architecture. The villa was the place to be in, its time and even the Imperial family came visiting when they were in Ehime. The Villa's construction was in fact rushed to be completed in time for Prince Hirohito (later Emperor Showa) visit.

Bansuiso was designated as a cultural property by Ehime prefecture in 1985 and was designated as one of the country's important cultural property in 2011.

Plus, this romantic villa is part of Saka no ue no kumo course (no 5 to be specific). It is now used as the annexe building of Saka no ue no kumo museum. I wish I learnt about this course and the novel "Cloud over the slope" which is what saka no ue no kumo means; written by Ryotaro Shiba prior to our visit. It would be nice to make a complete tour of the course, after reading the book (or watching the NHK produced drama of it), don't you think?

But of course, like most places we stumbled upon, I learnt about its history after our visit. Sometimes months and years after our visit. I guess that's why we simply have to return to Japan again and again. We always have unfinished business there!

Happy now, Jungle Woman?

12 comments:

  1. The mysterious chateau, unveiled and explained! Happy! :D

    Also happy because this post led to furious Googling and YouTubing, and that drama (which I didn't know about) [predictably] looks really nice. Trailer here if anybody's interested.

    PS: The longer I live here, the longer my "must do/see this" list gets. Business permanently unfinished.

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    1. I have a longer list of things to do, just in the shitamachi now... thanks to a certain blog! xD

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  2. Very rare to see a French style chateau in Japan. Must really stand out and not surprised that you were intrigued to find out more about the place :)

    Japan Australia

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    1. I was drawn to it because of the man in military uniform,standing at the foot of the villa. Walking towards him,made me notice the villa and the small number of visitors walking up the hill. We followed suit and found it. :)

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  3. I know sakano ue no kumo but didn't know the museum. It sounds very interesting. :)

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    1. I think the museum is interesting. No English though so non-speaking foreign visitors might not fully appreciate the place.

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  4. I know what you mean about learning about a place after a visit. That's why it's good to blog so you can do some research. Did you get a chance to go inside?

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    1. Unfortunately we didn't. We already spent way too much time around the compound so we had to hurry to our final destination which was Dogo Onsen.

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  5. If I may add my two cents (underlining that I'm far from being an architecture specialist, but I have the nationality as credentials here), I don't find the building very French. But I can't say I'm surprised, seeing how my country is perceived by most Japanese people. ;-)

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    1. Yeah well, people do have a tendency to have a certain (albeit skewered) image of something. Myself included. ;p

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