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Shimane #2 Art museums

Spending one night at Izumo, we left for Yasuki city to visit Adachi Museum of Art.

If you know this name, I think you would be a great lover of the Japanese garden or Taikan Yokoyama, one of the greatest painter in Japan.

Adachi Museum of Art is very unique and a successful museum. Despite located in very plain country side, we see bunch of big coaches full of tourists and private cars in the car park next to the museum.

They have 500,000 visitors a year. Why does this museum attract so many people despite of locating a sort of inconvenienced rural place?

There are 2 reasons.

One is the Japanese garden. The Adachi Museum of Art is best known for its award winning garden. It has been named the best garden in Japan annually since 2003 by the "Journal of Japanese Gardening". The garden can be enjoyed at anytime of the year and shows a different character depending on the season. It can only be viewed from the museum building.

Another reason is because of their collections of art. The extra ordinal collection is approximately 1,600 paintings of Yokoyama Taikan. This museum is the No.1 collection of Yokoyama Taikan. In addition Taikan, they have collections of Shone Matsumura, Ikuo Hirayama, Kanjiro Kawai, Rosanjin Kitaoji ....yes, this museums has heavenly great and amazing collection of arts by Japanese artists.

Adachi is a family name. Mr. Zenko Adachi established this museum in 1970. Because of huge Japanese gardens and great numbers and quality of collections, I thought the Adachi is a clan of a feudal lord of this region and super rich family so that they can afford to run the museum. It was not correct. The founder, Mr. Zenko Adachi was born in a very poor farmer family. He graduated only elementary school and started working to live at age of 12. He did numerous different jobs to make money and set a life as a business man at age of 14. I was so impressed and surprised to know it in the museum and bought his biography book at the gift shop. You can read a brief story of his life at

Then we moved to Matsue where the capital city of Shimane to visit to the Tanabe Museum.

The Tanabe Museum of Arts houses a collection of tea ceremony implements and other treasures acquired by the local Tanabe clan. The very traditional contract way of gate from Tokugawa era is appointed as a designated cultural property of Matsue City.

The museum founder 23rd Choemon Tanabe (1906 – 1979) was from the prominent land-owning Tanabe family in Oku-Izumo, a successful businessman, a politician. He was an upper house member of Parliament and probably the most decorated Governor of Shimane.

The Tanabe clan is one of very historical family in Shimane and had close relationship with Tokugawa in Edo era. The collection includes the famous Lord Fumai’s tea ceremony equipment and tea bowls, and tea collection from the Tanabe clan.

For more information:

Adachi Museum of Art

Tanabe Museum of Art (Japanese only)

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