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Murin-an (無鄰菴?)
Garden of Murin-an with the Higashiyama in the background
Type Japanese garden
Location Kyoto, Japan
Coordinates 35°00′42″N 135°47′14″E / 35.0116°N 135.7872°E / 35.0116; 135.7872Coordinates: 35°00′42″N 135°47′14″E / 35.0116°N 135.7872°E / 35.0116; 135.7872
Created 1894

Murin-an (無鄰菴?) 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.


Yamigata Aritomo was an important figure in the politics and military affairs of the Meiji Period. Born into an old Samurai family and devoted to military affairs, he traveled to Europe in 1869 as part of a delegation of experts to study the Prussian Army, and when he returned he helped re-organize the Japanese Army on the Prussian model. He became Minister of War in 1873, and was twice Prime Minister of Japan, from 1889 to 1891 and from 1898 to 1900.

The completion of a canal between Lake Biwa and Kyoto provided a plentiful source of water for the area around the Nanzen-ji temple domain in Kyoto.[1] Yamigata who was a great lover of gardens, purchased land in the area and made plans to build a villa and garden using water from the canal. He began work in 1894, but stopped in 1895 to conduct a war with China. He resumed work when the war was finished, with the help of the notable garden designer Ogawa Jihei (1860-1933), also known as Ueji, who had built the garden of the recreated Kyoto Imperial Palace nearby.[2] In addition to the garden, he built a tea house, a traditional Japanese house, and a modern western-style house, complete with a lawn in the English style, added in 1898.[3]


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[4] 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.[5]


  1. ^ Mansfield. Page 35.
  2. ^ Mansfield. Page 35.
  3. ^ Elisseeff. Pages 106-109.
  4. ^ Mansfield. Page 35.
  5. ^ Elisseeff. Pages 106-109.


  • Elisseeff, Danielle (2010). Jardins Japonais. Paris: Nouvelles Editions Scala. ISBN 978-2-35988-029-8. 
  • Mansfield, Stephen (2011). Japan's Master Gardens - Lessons in Space and Environment (Hardback). Tokyo, Rutland, Singapore: Tuttle. ISBN 978-4-8053-1128-8. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Murin-an at Wikimedia Commons