About Place of Scenic Beauty: Murin-an

Murin-an is a Japanese villa and garden built between 1894 to 1896 by Aritomo Yamagata, an Elder Statesman (advisor to the emperor) from the Meiji and Taisho Period. In 1941, the Yamagata family donated Murin-an to Kyoto City and in 1951 it was designated as a National Place of Scenic Beauty, which led to its’ current popularity.

The site area is 3,135 ㎡.


Jihei Ogawa VII (7th) created this garden under Yamagata’s instructions. The garden’s central point is the Higashiyama Mountains with a spacious and bright open lawn area. This naturalistic scenic garden received high ratings ever since it’s creation. Also, the water in the light flowing stream is from the Lake Biwa Canal. This villa was a pioneer in creating the villa cluster of the Kyoto Okazaki & Nanzenji neighborhood.


The villa is composed of three architectures; an austere two-story main building composed of wood, a Yabunouchi-style tea house, and a two-story red brick Western-style House.

Western-style House

Built in May 1898. On the second floor is a room decorated with a magnificent wall painting, Birds and Flowers using gold-foil-pressed paper in the Kano School style from the early Edo Period. On April 21, 1903 this room was used for the Murin-an Meeting, where the nation’s foreign policy just before the Russo-Japanese War was discussed by four men; Aritomo Yamagata (Elder Statesman), Hirobumi Ito (Rikken Seiyu-kai committee member), Taro Katsura (Prime Minister of Japan), and Juntaro Komura (Minister of Foreign Affairs).