Adachi Museum of Art 足立美術館
A garden on display
Voted as having the most beautiful garden in Japan by a US magazine, Adachi Museum of Art has since gained enormous popularity and people come from all over Japan to admire it.
The museum opened in 1970, and has 1,300 works on display that rotate with the seasons. While most of the works are paintings from the early twentieth century, much of the museum is devoted to traditional Japanese ceramics.
The stars of the museum are Yokoyama Taikan, Shiho Sakakibara and Shunso Hishida, considered the founding fathers of modern Japanese painting.
The museum and garden were designed together, and you can certainly sense a certain dialogue between the fixed artworks within and the changing beauty of the gardens outside, as visitors constantly pass through the exhibition halls to the rooms overlooking the gardens.
For a taste of the museum, visit it on Google Art.
Scenes of stone and pine
The highlight of the museum remains the 16,500 m² garden which can only be admired from inside the museum, behind glass. However, that doesn't prevent enjoyment of the garden because it was created to be admired from this unique perspective. Indeed, it is designed according to the borrowed scenery technique, shakkei in Japanese, according to which the garden must be in balance with the surrounding landscape (as it appears twice the size it actually is).
In 2011, for the ninth consecutive year, it was elected most beautiful garden in Japan by the Journal of Japanese Gardening, an international reference in the field.
The garden consists of six themed areas, the moss garden, the dry landscape garden, the white gravel and pine garden, the pond garden, the Kikaku waterfall, and the garden of Juryu-an, which is the only one possible to walk around. Mixing plant and mineral alike, the gardens are truly a "living Japanese painting" in which everything was placed by design. Gravel expanses, baroque stone forms and perfectly trimmed pine trees, the faux-natural appearance creates both static and changing frescoes.