Murin-an was built as a villa of Aritomo Yamagata (a military officer and prime minister), and its garden was created by Jihei Ogawa (Ueji, a gardener) in 1896. Many villas were built in Nanzen-ji area after this villa. The villa was transferred from the Yamagata Family to Kyoto city in 1941, and its modern garden was designated a National Scenic Site in 1951.
The garden covers more than 3,000 square meters and has a bright and open lawn area and light water flow, with Higashiyama Mountain as its background. In “Kyokarinsen-cho,” a photo book of gardens in the Meiji period, it was described as “a masterpiece of new gardens full of rustic atmosphere.” In addition, in “Zoku-koko-kaishinroku,” a work of travel literature in the same period, the author wrote “the design of Murin-an is followed by all the gardens created afterwards.” Thus, the garden was a pioneer of the modern garden, receiving high evaluation soon after its completion.