Isui-En Garden, Nara, Japan


Isui-En translates as ‘garden founded on water’, an apt name as the garden is designed around two ponds fed by the neighbouring Yoshikigawa River. 

I can’t decide which is my favourite garden in Nara (a very hard choice considering Yoshikien is right next door), but Isuien for me is one of the most memorable. That wow moment when you round the corner of the first tea house is a hard one to forget! 

The garden uses shakkei, (the traditional concept of borrowed scenery), with Nara’s mountains and the Great South Gate of Todaiji Temple visible in the background.

Featuring a scattering of beautiful teahouses overlooking the ponds, stepping stones across the water and a beautiful moss garden, it’s easy to spend a good couple of hours here just standing in awe.  

There’s also the Neiraku museum on site which houses a collection of Japanese pottery and if you’re feeling peckish on the walk round, you can order tea and traditional snacks at the Sanshutei Tea House. 

How to get there:

Address: 74 Suimon-cho, Nara
Nara Prefecture 630-8208

Isuien garden is located right next to Yoshikien garden, so I advise visiting both gardens while you’re in the area. 

Isuien garden is around a 15 minute walk away from Kintetsu Nara train station, and is a short walk away from other attractions in Nara such as Todaiji temple and Kofukuji temple. 

Opening times: 

Monday: 09:30 – 16:30

Tuesday: Closed

Wednesday – Sunday: 09.30: 16:30

Admission: 900 yen


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