Lonely Planet Writer

Where to see the most incredible gardens in Japan

For the 15th year in a row, the gardens at the Adachi Museum have been awarded the top spot in the 2017 Japanese Garden Ranking.

A garden at the Adachi Museum of Art. Image by Yuri Smityuk\TASS via Getty Images

According to the museum, the ranking comes from the Journal of Japanese Gardening, an American publication about Japanese gardens. The beautiful museum gardens have secured the top ranking out of more than 900 spots around Japan.

A garden at the Adachi Museum of Art. Image by John S Lander/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Adachi Museum is home to a large collection of modern Japanese art, including many works by the well-known artist Yokoyama Taikan. But one of its main attractions is the six large gardens that can only be viewed through glass, as though they are a painting in the museum. The gardens cover around 165,000 square metres and can be viewed as they change throughout the seasons. The museum is in Yasugi in Shimane Prefecture and the gardens are surrounding by a beautiful backdrop of mountains. The gardens include a dry landscape garden, a moss garden, a white gravel garden, and more beautiful sites that will impress even those who know little about this style of gardening.

The bi-monthly journal is intended to show off Japanese gardens around the world. The annual ranking is based on expert judgements, on criteria like garden quality, support for visitors, and the gardens relationship with surrounding buildings. The Adachi Museum of Art is followed by gardens at the Katsura Rikyū in Kyoto, Yamamoto-tei in Tokyo, the Heian Hotel in Kyoto, and Kasui-en Minami in Shimane.