Nestled between the dramatic Shimane Mountains in the rural area of Yasugi in Shimane Prefecture, a picturesque Japanese garden at Adachi Museum of Art has been selected as the No.1 Japanese Garden for 18 consecutive years since 2003 nominated by the US magazine Journal of Japanese Gardens. This is a must-visit on any traveler’s list.
Garden Like Painting
Spread over two floors, the Adachi Museum of Art houses a noteworthy collection of Japanese art. However, the stand-out feature here is the beautiful, picturesque garden.
Walking through the museum, visitors will notice that each of the windows is perfectly placed to view the garden and framed with a mountain range as a backdrop. Just like a painting, these large windows serve as a frame to a painting and the view is surreal. It is not difficult to see why it has consistently voted as one of Japan’s top spots. This is exactly what the founder of the museum, Adachi Zenko, believed to create and devoted himself to cherishing the gardens until he died in 1990.
Large floor-to-ceiling windows framing specific area of the garden like a painting
Tree trunk with window as natural framing during summer
Even in the same garden, the scenery changes drastically when there's snow on the ground and makes the visitors to drop by every season
Highlights of the Garden
There are six gardens but the main garden is beyond expectation and is a perfect place to visit at any time of year since it is designed to always have something in-season. The main garden, Karesansui Garden with large standing stones centered on a pond expressed with white sand, is built in the “borrowed landscape” style. The way the landscape blends in with the mountains behind gives more depth to the scenery than it looks. These visual effects make the appearance look limitless.
Karesansui Garden (Main Garden)
Inspired by Yokoyama Taikan's masterpiece "Beautiful Pine Beach," the White Gravel and Pine Garden located next to the main garden are planted with many black pines and red pines in sandy soil. This garden recreates the beautiful coastal scenery of Japan using white sand and pine trees like that of Miho-no-Matsubara Pine Groves in Shizuoka and Tsuda Pine Grove in Kagawa prefecture.
The White Gravel and Pine Garden
The garden also has a pond and a waterfall and is also built in the “borrowed landscape” style. The waterfall on the right side of the garden is called “Kikaku no Taki”, which means Crane and Turtle Waterfall. This is an artificial waterfall created in 1978 to commemorate the 8th anniversary of the museum. Forced perspectives using different shades of green create the illusion that the waterfalls look further away tucked in the mountains than they are. With a height difference of 15 meters, it is one of the sceneries that amaze tourists visiting the museum.
Visitors can go outside to see the “Pond Garden” which resembles the shore on the beach. While capturing the moment of peace, visitors can prepare to experience a new kind of sensation at the tokonoma (alcove) inside the museum as you head over to the next area. The picturesque images of the garden seen outside turn into a “living” hanging scroll. These alcoves traditionally feature a hanging scroll of calligraphy or fine art, however, at this museum, the wall is deliberately cut out so that visitors can constantly enjoy the changing seasonal beauty.
Alcove with "living" hanging scroll
Unlike other gardens, the "Moss Garden'' that appears as visitors walk through the entrance is designed at minimum.The garden is located on the right side of Karesansui Garden (main garden) and is filled with pine trees with carefully positioned rocks where the mosses can thrive. Behind the moss garden, there is a stream with a stone bridge. At the far end of the stream, there is a tea house called Kansui-an with a pagoda. Unfortunately, visitors will not be allowed to go outside to witness this beautifully maintained garden.
Moment of Peace at Tea House
While admiring the garden like painting through large floor-to-ceiling windows, visitors can take a moment to fully appreciate the beauty of nature while enjoying a bowl of tea or coffee. Over at a cafe, Midori, the main garden, Karesansui Garden is best viewed and makes this a perfect spot from where you can look out onto the impeccable view. Needless to say, seeing the beauty of this garden from either the museum or at a cafe is a moving experience for any visitors year round.
Address:320 Furukawa-cho, Yasugi, Shimane, 692-0064, JAPAN
Hours: April-September:9:00-17:30 October-March:9:00-17:00
By train: take the free shuttle bus that departs from JR Yasugi Station, but seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis (no reservations) so if you’re traveling during a busy season it’s best to be prepared!
For other options, check the official wepage here