The Kawara-no-in (Riverside Villa) of the courtier Minamoto no Tōru (822–895) figures prominently in tenth-century Japanese literary texts as both a site of elegant play and as a ruined garden redolent of bygone glories. A century after Tōru's death, the villa assumes a malevolent aspect in popular narratives, and Tōru reappears as an angry ghost who threatens visitors sexually and politically. This paper examines how and why playwrights originally incorporated both positive and negative views of the Kawara-no-in in early plays about Tōru and his garden, but eventually suppressed the sinister side, arguably to present a more positive depiction of the politically powerful Minamoto family and of aristocratic culture in general.