Sanyo-so was built in 1929 as the second home of former Mitsubishi conglomerate founder Yataro Iwasaki’s eldest son Hisaya.
The stylish Japanese-tea-ceremony-style home was built in the middle of a vast Japanese garden designed by Japanese garden artist Jihei Ogawa.
The Iwasaki family called the complex Sanyo-so after its family motto, “Sanyo kun”.
When purchasing the complex, Sanyo-so operators decided to continue using this name.
The Sanyo-so inn started business in 1947 with 15 buildings.
It expanded in 1950 by adding the spacious “Mokusei” and moving a building called “Kano River” belonging to Shinpei Goto, who served as Tokyo City Mayor (now called Tokyo Governor), and turning it into a bar.
Expansions were made to include the main building Miyuki in 1957, and the guest houses Takasago, Kagetsu, Kinuta in 1967.
In 1988, the new buildings designed by Togo Murano ― the recipient of the Order of Cultural Merit — opened. In 1993, the last of the new buildings were completed.
The new buildings — designed after Togo Murano turned 90 — maximize natural geological formations.
That’s why despite being flat houses, the new buildings have a unique design such as stairs and corridors connecting the guest houses.
Sanyo-so creates a relaxing space using waterfalls and streams in various locations.
In addition, the pathways were designed to be curvy to make the long pathways from the entrance feel shorter than they actually are.
In the middle of the pathway, there is an open space that offers the best view of the garden.
The leaves that burn red during foliage in the fall is especially worth viewing from this spot.