The Embassy of Japan in Sri Lanka is also accredited to the Republic of Maldives





                The beautiful Renaissance architectural building of the Japanese Embassy down the shady avenue of Gregory’s Road, Colombo 7, and formerly known as “Winyatts”, has a long history dating as far back as the turn of the last century. Colombo 7, popularly known even today as “Cinnamon Gardens” was a posh residential area during the turn of the last century where leading professionals, landed proprietors, businessmen and high government officials built their palatial residences. This charming building which houses the Japanese Embassy today was built by Mr. N. Don Stephen Silva, an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.) and Justice of Peace around 1908. Don Stephen Silva was the second son of Mr. N. Don Paulis Silva, the famous “Plumbago King”. “Winyatts” was the family home of Mr. Don Stephen Silva and his son Mr. N.D.A.S. Wimalakirti for many years.

                During the second world war this building was taken over by the South-East Asian forces in Colombo and was occupied by Admiral Layton, its Chief Commander. After the war the Wimalakirtis moved back, living there and using it as a family establishment again.Thereafter, when Mr. Wimalakirti became the Austrian Consul, “Winyatts” became the Austrian Consulate. Upon his demise his wife who was appointed as Honourary Austrian Consul sold the property to the Japanese Embassy in 1973. The brilliant white painted building with its black shutters, bay windows, eves and the grand portico stands untouched or unchanged even today, though the interior of the building has been refurbished to meet the requirements of the diplomatic mission. This magnificent building has been included as one of the most beautiful buildings of the British period in a large album collection of British architecture entitled “British Period Architecture in Sri Lanka” by Prof. Lakshman Alwis, Professor of Architecture, Faculty of Architecture, University of Moratuwa, Rohan C. Aluvihare and Dayapriya B. Navaratne.

(We acknowledge with gratitude the kind cooperation extended by Prof. Lakshman Alwis for permitting the use of some of the above information obtained from his album collection entitled “British Period Architecture in Sri Lanka”)






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