The Adachi Museum of Art is a unexpected gem to be found in the beautiful countryside of Yasugi, in Shimane prefecture. Along with the biggest collection of Yokoyama Taikan paintings, the museum also owns a special Japanese garden, which had been designated as the “Best garden of Japan” by the serious Journal of Japanese gardening. Apart from this must-see garden, the Yasugi area – which is neighboring Matsue – is home of a Kiyomizu-dera temple, whose pagoda is open to visitors.
The place is not out of the Heisei 100 landscapes list (cf. our project) but is definitely worth mentioning here!
Because what Adachi Zenko created in the 1960s-1970s in Shimane prefecture – and which is now known as the Adachi Museum of Art – is an outstanding museum of Japanese fine art in the middle of an equally outstanding six-parts traditional Japanese garden. The local businessman, born in Yasugi in 1899 and owner of a successful fabrics and real estate company, wanted to share his two passions.
And more than that, he wanted his two passions to be featured together in a single location – a unique kind of open museum where the garden would be enjoyed along the art collection (from the 1870s to these days, with a big focus on Yokoyama Taikan (1868-1958) and the Nihonga technique). As a result, the collection displayed is changing every season, preceding the garden rich nature. The Japanese garden itself is a creation of Kinsaku Nakame, from 1970.
Surrounding the main building, this garden is the masterpiece of the Adachi Museum of Art. Employees are taking care of their garden part daily, every morning before their other tasks and the museum opening. And perfection’s meaning is taken to a whole new level, as the Museum owns every hills to be seen afar – so they can match exactly the garden.
The garden was made to become a part of the art exhibition by itself, with windows offering great views from several exhibition rooms.
About 20 minutes by car from the museum is the Kiyomizu-dera temple, also in Yasugi. As the one to be found in Kyoto, Shimane prefecture’s Kiyomizu-dera has long been famous for its pure spring water – the literal meaning of kiyomizu in Japanese. The temple is easy to reach by bus from Yasugi station or the Adachi Museum of Art. It is a great nature break, and might be the perfect place to try Japanese Buddhist vegetarian meals, as several ryokan exist in the temple precinct, offering lunch even for non-guest.
These are very fine dishes (see below), with plenty of savors. Beware: the grilled freshwater eel is in fact some fried tofu!
But the main feature of the Kiyomizu-dera is its pagoda. From what we know, it is the only one in the country open to visitors. It is only necessary to book in advance (using the form contact of the official website, in English), so that an English-speaking monk will be available to open the pagoda. The visit only costs a few hundred yens per person.
Before discovering the view other Shimane rich nature, the Pagoda ascension allows to discover its wooden architecture. An interesting and rare sight.
How to get there?
The Adachi Museum of Art is in Shimane prefecture, which can either be reached by plane (to Yunago or Izumo airports) or shinkansen to Okayama and then regular trains on the JR Yakumo line. Stop at JR Yasugi station.
A free shuttle bus bound for the museum is available from the station, from 8:50am to 5pm.
The museum entrance fee is officially 2200 yen, but foreigners get a 50% discount.