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Travel News Japan's horticultural jewel: Adachi Museum Garden


Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
The White Gravel and Pine Garden of the Adachi Museum of Art in Yasugi, Shimane Prefecture, was designated Japan's most splendid garden for the 19th consecutive year in a U.S. Journal of Japanese Gardening survey.


The well-tended space covers roughly 170,000 square meters and consists of six areas, including the Dry Landscape Garden, the Moss Garden and the White Gravel and Pine Garden. The journal, also known as Sukiya Living Magazine, was founded by Douglas Roth in 1998 to introduce Japanese gardens to the world. Begun in 2003, the rankings are determined by gardening experts and cover 1,000 Japanese gardens around the country. The magazine features the top 50 gardens every year. Although the picturesque garden was originally designed by a famous gardener, museum founder and local businessman Zenko Adachi added arrangements of his own to complete the landscape. Maintained by seven gardeners, the grounds boast a variety of trees and flowers such as red and black pines, "satsuki" and "tsutsuji" azaleas and maples. Museum director Takanori Adachi said the charm of the garden lies in its landscape beauty, both natural and artificial, that is of unprecedented scale in the world.


It is becoming an annual ritual: the US-based Sukiya Living magazine (formerly Journal of Japanese Gardening) has awarded the Adachi Museum its highest honour – the most beautiful traditional garden – for over 20 years.


Despite accolades coming from outside of Japan, the museum and gardens remain relatively unknown compared to those in Kyoto and Tokyo. Many Western visitors to Japan are confused when they visit a Japanese garden, only to not see a single flower. Japanese gardens place emphasis on different kinds of plants, like moss or trees, or may just consist of rocks in a finely manicured bed of sand. They're not just about big, colorful blooms – there's a more subtle dynamic at play.

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