Japanese gardens soothe the soul with their changing look in every season, from rustling trees and pure flowing water punctuated by dancing breezes.
Many European gardens are characterized by manmade geometrical beauty, with symmetry and clean horizontal and vertical lines. Japanese gardens, on the other hand, feature asymmetrical designs and curved pathways that mimic the beauty of nature. They are designed to blend and harmonize with the natural landscape.
Japan is full of these gardens—particularly in Kyoto—but the Japanese gardens renowned for being the most beautiful in the world are located in the San’in region, about four or five hours west of Kyoto by bullet and regular train. The area includes the prefectures of Shimane and Tottori, which border the Japan Sea. Izumo Taisha shrine, a center of faith for more than two thousand years, is sometimes referred to as the “birthplace of the heart of Japan”. What kind of Japanese garden could have earned such a title?
Experience the world of Japanese painting at the Adachi Museum of Art
A free shuttle will take you from JR Yasugi Station to the Adachi Museum of Art in about twenty minutes. It houses a collection of some 1,500 Japanese masterpieces, most notably the works of Yokoyama Taikan (1868–1958), a master often considered the founder of Japanese-style painting, but also including ceramics, wood carvings, and more. But another reason so many people visit the Adachi Museum of Art is its sprawling Japanese gardens.
Japanese gardens come in many forms. There are dry landscape gardens that recreate mountains, rivers, and other scenes using combinations of rocks and white sand (and no water); others are built around ponds, which are showcased as the central feature. Another classic garden style is the moss garden, in which large areas are covered in beautiful green carpets of moss.
The massive 165,000 square-meter site at the Adachi Museum of Art features a diverse collection of Japanese gardens that include all three of these styles, making it true feast for the eyes. Every morning before the museum opens, the entire staff spend about an hour cleaning every inch of it as professional gardeners prune and trim the grounds, making sure it is always in perfect condition.
A testament to the quality of the Adachi gardens is their having earned the top spot in the list of the best Japanese gardens put out by the American publication Journal of Japanese Gardening for seventeen years running. They’ve also earned three stars (the highest ranking) from the French publications Michelin Green Guide Japon and Guides Bleus Japon.
Zenko Adachi (1899–1990) was the businessman who founded the museum. When he was alive, he talked about the garden as being another painting in his museum. But the painting he was talking about was not a lifelike representation of the world, as with modern Western paintings.
Japanese gardens can depict mountains using only rocks and the greenery of trees, or tranquil water using only tiled stones. For the Japanese, whose worldview was heavily colored by Buddhism, the goal was not to faithfully depict the real world, but to express nature via a host of different metaphors.
The museum, with its exhibits of Japanese painting and exquisite garden views, may just be the perfect place to experience the profound depths of the Japanese aesthetic.
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.