Italian Embassy Villa Memorial Park- A perfect summer getaway
During the summer camp with my family, I had the opportunity to visit the Italian Embassy Villa Memorial Park and was curious to learn about this place that is being recommended as a sightseeing spot in Nikko. It is located on the banks of the popular Lake Chuzenji. There is no proper parking area when you visit this museum because the management does its part to preserve the surrounding areas of the villa. However, you can park in the spacious parking area near the ferry boat ride of Lake Chuzenji. Rich in history and Italian culture, this villa turned museum attracts visitors because of its vintage-style interiors and natural-looking architecture that blends well with the surrounding trees. In this blog, let us look deeper into this villa and why it is worth visiting when you’re in Nikko.
A brief history of the Italian Embassy Villa
Italian Embassy Villa Memorial Park was an international summer resort surrounded by lush greenery and fronting the picturesque Lake Chuzenji. From the middle of the Meiji Era to the early Showa Era, a number of foreign villas were built alongside the lake that housed the embassies of many countries. The area was known as an international summer resort.
The buildings inside the park were built as an Italian Embassy Villa in 1928 and used by former ambassadors in succession until 1997. The “main building” has been restored by reusing the floorboards, fittings, and furniture, and the “sub building” is maintained as an “International Summer Resort History Exhibit” which introduces the history at that time. Viewing from the villa’s veranda and garden, you will enjoy the breathtaking views of Lake Chuzenji that resemble a painting.
What’s inside the Main Building?
I explored the place with my daughter who is very interested in history. As we hiked downhill towards the villa and into the entrance, we are greeted by the staff and we paid 300yen as entrance fee for adults. We were led to the spacious first floor where we saw the study room with large sofas and a low table adorned with two flaglets of Japan and Italy. We learned that the villa was constructed by the famous architect and diplomat Antonin Raymond. Aside from the study area, there was another separate living room in the center leading to a wide terrace overlooking the beautiful Lake Chuzenji. For me, the terrace is my favorite part of the first floor because there was an airy space of outdoor living.
After strolling through the terrace we walk through the dining area furnished with a fireplace and a table with elegant settings of vintage china, silverwares and glasswares. There was a feeling of nostalgia by just seeing the table arrangement and the wine shelf on display near the dining area.
On the second floor, we check the bedrooms facing the lake and it was well designed to ensure that it maximizes the view. I loved all the beddings and furniture arrangements and could imagine the ambassador’s family using this place. We noticed the walls finished in cedar of different patterns that resulted into a rich natural design! Overall, It is a symbol of a resort life that offers a rich natural environment full of luxury and relaxation.
International Summer Resort History Exhibit
As we finished touring the main villa, we hiked upwards to the sub villa where it features a living-dining room furnished with a fireplace, a wide terrace, bedrooms and a kitchen. The forest landscape in the surrounding areas is at its best during the seasonal hues of autumn and spring which can be seen through the window of this villa.
As we finished our tour, we strolled the surrounding areas facing the lake and was mesmerized with the beauty of Lake Chuzenji. The stillness of the views is like a medicine to a weary mind. It was just a perfect summer getaway not just for former ambassadors and their families but for tourists who loves to break the cycle of hectic daily lives. It was a relief visiting this former embassy and as an avid traveler, I recommend my readers to go, visit this place regardless of seasons.