A Picturesque Garden Nestled Within the Adachi Museum of Art

Designed according to the 'shakkei' technique, this green space has held the title of the most beautiful garden in Japan since 2002.


WordsClémence Leleu

© Wikicommons

‘The garden is, so to speak, a picture scroll’, declared Adachi Zenko, founder of the Adachi Museum of Art during its inauguration. Opened in 1970, this institution, located close to the city of Matsue in Shimane Prefecture, houses a large collection of modern artworks, but the museum is mainly known for its garden. 

Spread over 165,000 square metres, the garden was constructed in accordance with the shakkei technique, meaning ‘borrowed scenery.’ It involves integrating a more distant landscape, generally a mountain, into the composition of the garden, to give viewers the impression that they are looking at one unique element. The viewpoint verges on perfection by subtly playing with scale and perspective. 


A panorama to be viewed from inside

The garden at the Adachi Museum of Art is composed of four distinct spaces: the Dry Landscape Garden, the White Gravel and Pine Garden, the Moss Garden, and the Pond Garden. It is tended on a daily basis by eight gardeners who also cultivate many other trees and shrubs, in order to maintain the perfection envisaged when the garden was designed. Everything is done with almost clockwork precision, which the public is not allowed to disrupt. The garden is to be viewed from inside the museum, through its many glass windows that frame, in the same way as a piece of art, certain scenes from the landscape. 

This garden, which has been awarded three stars by the Michelin Green Guide, also occupies first position in the rankings of the most beautiful gardens in Japan, drawn up by the specialist American publication The Journal of Japanese Gardening. Every year, 30 international experts visit almost one thousand gardens across Japan, before selecting the top 50. 

The garden at the Adachi Museum of Art appears to be undefeatable, having held on to first place since 2002.


More information about the garden at the Adachi Museum of Art can be found on the institution’s website.

© Wikicommons

© Wikicommons

© Wikicommons

© Clapon / Flikr