Toba Rikyu (Toba Imperial villa) (鳥羽離宮)

Toba Rikyu was used as a villa by generations of "Daijo-Tenno" (retired emperors) from the 12th to around the 14th century. It is also called Tobadono or Jonan rikyu.

It was located around today's Kamitoba, Minami Ward, Kyoto City and Shimotoba/Takeda/Nakajima, Fushimi Ward. Total area of the premises is 1.8 million square meters.


Toba (Kyoto City) is located 3km south of Heian kyo and at the confluence of the Kamo-gawa River (Yodo-gawa River water system) and Katsura-gawa River, and was a traffic choke point where the Sanyodo also run through. When Heian kyo was constructed, Toba no Tsukurimichi (Toba New Road) an extension of Suzaku Oji, was built, and Toba also functioned as the outer port of Heian kyo. Further, Toba was a known for it's fine view and as a place where noblemen enjoyed hunting and recreation. Because of this, many villas belonging to noblemen stood side by side, and Toba also had markets on specific days and it was developed like a small city from olden times.

In the 11th century, FUJIWARA no Suetsuna, a close subject of the retired emperor gave up his villa in Toba to Emperor Shirakawa. Emperor Shirakawa undertook a huge scale expansion. It became a latter day Minami-dono. He constructed Higashi-dono, and further, and Anrakuju-in around a three-storied pagoda as the center for his own grave in the villa. In the 12th century of the generation of Emperor Toba, expansion of the buildings, like the Izumi-dono, were repeated. Retired Emperor Toba also made two towers of Honmito (pagoda) and Shinmito (pagoda) in Anrakuju-in and decided the former pagoda as his grave. Shinmito was planned to be the grave of Bifukumonin, however, in fact Emperor Konoe was buried there. Construction was assigned to close subjects of the retired emperor who were designated to Zuryo (the head of the provincial governors) of various regions. Like the above, Toba became not only the center of economy and traffic, but also a political center in the period of Insei (rule by a retired emperor).

Toba is also known as the place where Emperor Goshirakawa was confined by on orders of TAIRA no Kiyomori after the coup of 1179. However, with the fires from battle and conflicts between the southern and the northern courts, many buildings were burnt down and after that Toba rapidly came to ruin.

Toba Rikyu was made of Mianmi-dono, Izumi-dono, Kita-dono, Baba-dono, Higashi-dono, Tanaka-dono, etc.

To each palace, a mi-do Hall (enshrinement hall) was attached.

Minami-dono had Shokongo-in (built by Retired Emperor Shirakawa). Izumi-dono had Jobodai-in (built by Retired Emperor Toba). Kita-dono had Shokomyo-in (built by Retired Emperor Toba). Higashi-dono had Anrakuju-in (built by Retired Emperor Toba). Tanaka-dono had Kongoshin-in (built by Retired Emperor Toba).

The high priest of Tendai sect, Kakuyu is called Toba Sojo as he lived in Shokongo-in of Toba Rikyu.

[Original Japanese]