British-born Herbalist Venetia Stanley-Smith Dies at 72

Photo taken by Tadashi Kajiyama
Venetia Stanley-Smith in July 2013

Venetia Stanley-Smith, a British-born herbalist and the author of popular books on living in harmony with nature in Kyoto Prefecture, died of aspiration pneumonia on Wednesday. She was 72.

Funeral services have been held with her family in attendance.

Born into an aristocratic British family, Stanley-Smith first came to Japan in 1971 and opened an English conversation school in Kyoto City in 1978.

She later moved to Ohara, Kyoto Prefecture, in 1996, where she lived in a more than 100-year-old house and grew herbs for use in cooking and other elements of daily life. She wrote collections of essays based on her life, including “Venetia’s Ohara Herb Diary.”

She appeared in a popular NHK TV program titled “At Home with Venetia in Kyoto.” The documentary film “Venetia’s garden” also featured her lifestyle.

Her husband, Tadashi Kajiyama, is a photographer of mountains.