Stay, Tochigi

Staying at Art Biotope GARDEN MIZUNIWA in Tochigi

Located 30 minutes drive from Nasu-Shiobara Station, Art Biotope Garden Mizuniwa is one of the prettiest gardens boasting the beautiful residence, a greenery and pale blue ponds. This is a place for architecture enthusiasts to spend time to see how architects can design new gardens. The architect of this artbiotpe is Ishigami Junya. I had a chance to see an architectural model of this art biotope which broke my stereotype. Ishigami’s architectural model was like a rough key animation but was so adorable due to precisely designed small ponds, stepping stones and layouts of all the trees. 

To construct a new residence and hotel, the owner decided to transplant all the trees to create a biotope. The number of trees was 318 and the average length was 15 meters. All of them were taken photos from different angles and measured dimensions to create a detailed architectural model. It took over 4 years to complete this project.


When you enter the approach to the biotope, you’ll see the grove of mixed treescope on the right side and gently curved retaining wall and trees and sky on the left side. While walking some time, you’ll reach a flat field with small ponds and over 160 small stepping stones. 


Every season breathes new life into the gardens; summer brings with it flowers of every shade and autumn brings burnt orange leaves scattered along the tree-lined promenades.

The best season to visit is from the early summer to autumn to enjoy greens and changing leaves. However, I could emphasize that you can witness the beautiful shapes of tree bodies, trunk and branches, even colors in winter. 

The garden is designed so naturally that it became a delusion that I was walking in natural woods. At the same time, I could enjoy the art of landscape which was planned carefully. Small stones are located next to each other. Their distance apart varied from very near to a little bit far to step. It is like a labyrinth of small ponds and stones. Be sure to stop and see around where you are and what you can observe. There is a small hill in the back allowing a view of the garden and you can confirm all trees are not overlapped in panoramic views from anywhere. 

We joined a walking tour with a knowledgeable guide and my son seemed to be listening, although the information might have gone in one ear and out the other. However, he suddenly started to run while shouting “I love this place. It’s fun”.

Residence area

Residence and the courtyard are perhaps the most photogenic artists’ residences available for rent in Tochigi. The interior of this residence is a beautiful contradiction: historic furnishings and modern artists’ works are met with modern contemporary style.

Restaurant μ

With a menu that focuses only on locally sourced ingredients, Restaurant μ is consistently praised for its service and menu offerings in the Nasu. The dishes are inventive and made to wow, so you can bet you’ll enjoy plenty of dinner conversation.

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