The main throughway (Edinburgh Road) is lined with big umbrella shaped raintrees which provide plenty of shade. On the left side of Edinburgh Road is the Swan Pond, so called because of the swans which inhabited it in the 1970s. The Swan Pond is the largest among the four ponds (Japanese Garden, Victoria Pond, Marsh Garden) in the Istana grounds. About 500 m down Edinburgh Road from the main gate is the Centre Gate. The Centre Gate consists of a guard post in the center and two gates on both sides. The intricate cast iron Centre Gate was built in 1931 as a receiving post for visitors. Directly behind the Centre is the miniature Japanese garden. The garden is surrounded by a few pine trees.
About 50 m down the road from the left gate is Sri Temasek (“splendour of Temasek”) – the official residence of the Prime Minister of Singapore though none of Singapore’s Prime Ministers have ever lived there. Sri Temasek is out of bounds to the public.
About 50 m down the road from the right gate is The Villa, also known as the Attorney-General’s House. Prior to 1984, the Villa was used to accomodate state visitors. Among its many illustrious guests were Premier Deng Xiaoping of the People’s Republic of China and Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia. Further down the road from The Villa is the Military Guardroom. It is used by the ceremonial guards when they are not performing sentry duties.
In the middle of the Istana compound is a 105mm Japanese cannon, a symbol of the liberation of Singapore after the Japanese Occupation. The gun was presented to Lord Louis Mountbatten after the Japanese surrendered in 1945.