The following tour will provide
you with a brief look into the main house of the Katsura Detached Palace
The main house of Katsura represents only one small portion of a much larger site, but is also the primary structure within the area of the Detached Palace.
The main house of Katsura is divided
into three main parts: Old Shoin, Middle Shoin, and New Palace.
All three are connected in a zig-zag pattern, from the southeast to the
northwest, and you can walk from one to the next without ever leaving the
house. However, not all three units were built at the same time.
The Old Shoin, the first of the three main buildings which make up the
main house of the Katsura Detached Palace, was built under the auspices
of Prince Toshihito, the first head of the Hachijô family, and could
perhaps be a revised version of the "little teahouse
in the melon patch" built around 1616. The Middle Shoin was built
later by Prince Toshihito’s heir, Prince Noritada, around 1641. Also
at this time, the Old Shoin was reconstructed into its present form.
In about 1655, Prince Sachi, a son of the ex-Emperor Go-Mizunoo, was appointed
heir to the Hachijô family line. At this time, the New
Palace was first constructed. Later, the New Palace continued
to be changed some time around 1663. Akira Naito writes
that, "The three sections of the main house reflect the shift from the
shoin style of the late middle ages to the sukiya style of the early Edo
period—a historical transition that led to the development of modern Japanese