A few zen moments in Isuien garden in Nara

“Old pond
A frog jumps in –
the sound of water”.

Basho’s “old pond” Haiku, the best-known Haiku in Japan

Isui-en is a Japanese garden located in Nara, the old capital of Japan near Kyoto. This is the only garden in the area designed for walking. This style is called “Kaiyushiki Teien” – a garden with ponds and walking paths around them. A Japanese garden and a modern public park, where anyone can walk, are two different things. The Isui-en Garden has been preserved almost unchanged since its creation during the Meiji era.

The garden covers about 13,500 square meters. The land was purchased in 1670 by a wealthy local man named Kiyosumi Michikiyo. He designed the garden between 1673 and 1681, and also two houses: “Sanshu-tei” and “Tei-shu-Ken”.

In the central pond, there are two islands with sculptures of a heron and a turtle. In Japanese culture, these animals symbolize longevity. You will also find here decorative stones that were especially popular during the Meiji era.


Isuien Garden is located a 15-minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Station. From JR Nara Station, the garden can be reached by taking frequently departing buses bound for Aoyamajutaku or Kunimidai-hachichome to the Oshiagecho bus stop.

We usually have one or two small groups (max 7/8 participants) per year traveling to Japan, including to this place. If you are interested in joining a group setting out from Europe, please drop a line. We will provide more information, like dates, a program and other details.


Year-round, although in the summertime would be nicer!


Osaka International Airport often referred to as Itami Airport is the primary regional airport for the Kansai region of Japan, including the major cities of Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe.

The gardens are located in Nara, close to Kyoto.


Located in central Nara, a visit to Isuien Garden is easily combined with seeing other attractions such as Todaiji Temple and Kofukuji Temple, which are both a ten-minute walk away.


The citizens of EU countries, the USA, and Australia definitely do not need a visa for Japan. 

You can also use the VisaHQ world service. They will provide full assistance in applying and obtaining the needed visa. Check directly the requirements for the Japanese visa here.

You also can check out the iVisa service here.



Do not travel without travel insurance! We have an excellent experience with World Nomads, as it is the only company that covers an unlimited budget, provides coverage of a massive bunch of adventure activities and you can purchase it while on the road. Get a free quote using the form below.

We search the best itineraries and airfares manually, based on your inquiry. Please inquire about your free quote here!

View of the Rinkeian Teahouse in the Isui-en Garden - typical Japanese walking garden, located in Nara, Japan


Free delivery worldwide (with no minimum spend) from Book Depository (Amazon), a leading international book retailer. Please click on the title of the book to read the full description and to buy it.

The Art of the Japanese Garden: History / Culture / Design

Japanese Gardens: a journey

Full collection of books about the Japanese gardens

Full collection of Japanese Guides – Lonely Planet, Bradt and many more