A strolling garden with its water source for the ponds, waterfall and streams fed by the canal from nearby Lake Biwa.
Murin-an villa and garden (無鄰菴) is located in the Okazaki area, the neighborhood of Nanzen-ji and Heian-jingu shrine in eastern Kyoto. It is situated south of the Kyoto Zoo. A private villa originally built in the Meiji period by Yamagata Aritomo (1838-1922), a Prime Minister of Meiji period Japan.
He laid out Murin-an between 1894-1898 on the land which was purchased from Nanzen-ji Temple as a result of the financial pressure placed on Buddhist temples by the new Meiji government. After Yamagata Aritomo’s passing, Murin-an was donated to Kyoto City in 1941. The villa has been preserved and is now open to the public.
Murin-an is a wonderful place to relax or stroll the garden in all seasons.
Murin-an villa contains a strolling garden with a lovely little pond, and a small teahouse, a two-story traditional structured main building, and a Western style brick building converted into a museum as he also had a deep interest in Western culture. The villa has dark rooms, painted walls and a paneled ceiling, which is a rare example of western style architecture.
The strolling garden, designed by the Japanese master gardener, Ogawa Jihei is absolutely gorgeous. Murin-an’s garden uses the Higashiyama mountains as “shuzan” , the central view point, which let it appear as an extension of the mountain scenery.
The garden is divided by winding streams and waterfalls fed by the canal from Lake Biwa, Japan’s biggest lake. The main garden is in the Japanese style, though large parts of the garden are lawn, an influence of Western style gardens. The garden contains a traditional tea house with a beautiful view of waterfalls, stepping stones, a moss covered area. Visitors can admire the garden while having a bowl of fresh Matcha green tea.
Access : 7-minute walk from Keage station on the Subway Tozai line
By Bus : Take the Kyoto city bus No. 5, 57, 32 or 100 to Doubutsu-en-mae (Kyoto Zoo). A short walk from the bus stop.
Hours : 9:00 to 18:00 (closed 17:00 Oct to Mar)
Closed : Dec 29 – Dec 31
Admission : 600 yen