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Why Murinan is special ?
Murinan is a Japanese garden in Kyoto, built by political and military leader Yamagata Aritomo between 1894 and 1898. It is an example of a classical Japanese promenade garden of the Meiji Period. And the villa on the grounds of Murinan has dark rooms, painted walls and a paneled ceiling and is a rare example of western style architecture. The garden was realized by the Japanese master gardener Ogawa Jihee. The garden uses the eastern hills of Kyoto as a backdrop – the concept of borrowed landscape Shakkei. It has a small stream that is fed by the waters of Lake Biwa, Japan's biggest lake. Large parts of the garden are lawn, probably an influence of English landscape gardens.
What to explore at Murinan?
The garden is sited on the slopes of the Higashiyama Hills, and has a source of water by a canal from Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan, which feeds a shallow artificial stream, with a triple waterfall which runs through the garden. The garden covers 3135 square meters and features contrasts between shady forests and sunlit open spaces, and a long promenade to see the different sights of the garden, including many views of the Higashiyama Hills.
Yamagata's villa at Murinan consists of a two-story main house in Japanese style and a two-story western-style brick building. It was on the upper floor of this building that Aritomo, along with the then Japanese Prime Minister Katsura Taro, Foreign Minister Komura Jutaro and Ito Hirobumi planned out an aggressive foreign policy before the Russo-Japanese War of 1905. The garden contains a traditional tea house with tatami-mat floors.
How to get to Murinan?
Murin-an is in the neighborhood of Nanzen-ji and Heian-jingu shrine in eastern Kyoto. It is situated south of the Kyoto Zoo. Take the city bus number 5, 57, 32 or 100 to Doubutsu-en-mae (動物園前 - Kyoto Zoo). When you get off the bus, walk south and cross the bridge, then go to your left, in eastern direction, following the Niōmon-dori (仁王門通り). Before Niōmon makes a right turn, there is a really small street to your right. Turn into that street and you will find a Murin-an's small entrance gate to your left.
- A beautiful garden, historic place
- Peaceful garden
- Calm, relaxing villa off the beaten path
- Quiet scenic spot in Higashiyama
名勝 無鄰菴 Japan 〒606-8437 京都府京都市 左京区南禅寺草川町31
Tips for you
From the villa itself, you can enjoy a cup of matcha (green tea for another 300 yen) and take in the lush view of the gardens and mountains. While sitting in the main house, you should try to hear the sound of stream and the wind though the leaves at the garden. It’s very calm and peaceful. If you come here with your family for a picnic, you mustn’t litter and have to categorize the trash before throwing.Things to do
This is situated in a busy ogazaki area with a lot of hustle and bustle going on with heian jingu and museums outside. The entrance is off to a side street. One you enter, you feel like you see miles away from the rest of the world. The kanji characters mean "no neighbors". I felt that was a correct nomenclature as it was peaceful and quiet inside. We had a cup of matcha (green tea) and sweets and wondered around the garden. The entrance fee was 410 yen instead of 400 yen due to a recent tax increase.
It is a hidden scenic spot of the garden that are not listed in the guide book. Less people during the holidays, you can also get a candy with green tea at 300 yen.