Keiun-kan Guesthouse (a state guesthouse in Nagahama City, Shiga Prefecture) (慶雲館)

Keiun-kan is a state guesthouse in Nagahama City, Shiga Prefecture.

It was built as Emperor Meiji's Anzaisho (provisional palace for Emperor's going out) in 1887. It is said that Hirobumi ITO, Prime Minister at the time named the guesthouse. The Chisen Kaiyushiki Teien Garden (a fairly large garden form that allows visitors to view the garden while strolling around its pond and fountain and through its premise; designated as National Scenic Beauty) of the main garden was a representative work of a master craftsman Jihei OGAWA the seventh, and at the same time it is famous for being one of the supreme masterpieces of the modern Japanese gardens.

From January to March every year, Nagahama Bonbai (bonsai of Japanese apricot trees) Exhibition which is admired as No. 1 in Japan is held at the guesthouse.

The house was built as Emperor Meiji's Anzaisho with the private money spent by Matazo ASAMI, a business man of Nagahama, at the remained site of the annex hall of Daitsu-ji Temple (Nagahama City), and it was completed on the morning of February 21, 1887. On the same day, Emperor Meiji and Empress Dowager Shoken visited the guesthouse.

1912: The extensive main garden (Chisen Kaiyushiki Teien Garden) was constructed by Jihei OGAWA.

1935: Designated as a National Historic Site under the name of 'Meiji Tenno Nagahama Anzaisho.'
(This designation was canceled in 1948.)

1936: Its ownership has shifted to Nagahama City.

July, 2004: It was opened to the public.

January, 2006: The main garden was designated as National Scenic Beauty.

Main building: Completed in 1887; a two-storey shoin (reception room) style building with sohinoki-zukuri (built with only a Japanese cypress), yosemune-zukuri (hipped roof), and kawarabuki (tiled roof); the Imperial throne is on the second floor; the total amount of floor space is 500 square meters and the construction cost was 10,000 yen (at the time of the construction). A whole view of Lake Biwa and Mt. Ibuki can be seen from the second floor.

Gardens: Consists of the front garden between the front gate and the inner gate, the garden before the entrance between the inner gate and the entrance of the main building, and the main garden on the south of the main building.

Main garden: Chisen Kaiyushiki Teien Garden, in which tsukiyama (small hill), pond and fountain, and dry fountain are harmonizing with splendid rock arrangement and pine trees. Garden before the entrance: Hiraniwa Garden (a flat Japanese garden without hills), in which chashitsu (tea-ceremony house; completed in 1887), huge rocks, and pine trees are arranged. Front garden: Hiraniwa Garden, in which large lantern with a height of 5 meters, a statue of yokozuna (sumo grand champion), and the like are arranged.

Address: 2-5, Minato-machi, Nagahama City, Shiga Prefecture, 526-0067
Hours of opening: 9:30 to 17:00
The days the guesthouse is closed: From December to March (Nagahama Bonbai Exhibition is held here from January 10 to March 10 every year)
Access: Three minutes' walk from Nagahama Station of JR Biwako Line

[Original Japanese]