Japan Data

Adachi Museum of Art Maintains Top Position in Japanese Garden Ranking


An American magazine specializing in Japanese gardens has ranked the garden at the Adachi Museum of Art as the best in 2020. This is the eighteenth straight year for the garden in Yasugi, Shimane Prefecture, to top the ranking, which began in 2003.

Every year Sukiya Living, a US-based magazine, calls on experts from around the world to choose the 50 best Japanese gardens from among roughly 1,000 candidates, including gardens at Japanese traditional inns and private residences. The project aims to evaluate Japanese gardens simply by their beauty and quality, without regard to scale or level of fame.

In 2020, the garden at the Adachi Museum of Art was chosen as the best Japanese garden for the eighteenth consecutive year. This garden, which surrounds the museum and covers an area of around 165,000 square meters, features a diverse array of garden styles, including a karesansui (dry landscape) garden, a moss garden, and a white gravel and pine garden.

The magazine noted that the winning location has been open every single day for more than 40 years, and the maintenance is superb. “If they see even the slightest problem, they will switch out plant materials or whatever else is needed. This museum is not afraid of making changes. They are always trying to improve, and that is one reason why they are so respected.”

On the other hand, there were some suggestions for improvement. “Some people say this place is too perfect thus they claim it looks sterile. Many guests also express the desire to go outside more. The facility could be improved with an open terrace cafeteria or benches/machiai where people can relax outside.”

The runner-up in the ranking was Katsura Rikyū garden of the Imperial Household Agency (Kyoto), followed by the Minami-kan ryokan (in Matsue), and the Yamamoto-tei garden at a former private residence (in Tokyo’s Katsushika Ward). The top six gardens in the ranking are exactly unchanged from 2019. The other four gardens changed position in the ranking, but all remained within the top 10.

Top 10 Japanese Gardens in 2020

Rank Name Location Type
1 Adachi Museum of Art Yasugi, Shimane Prefecture Museum
2 Katsura Rikyū Kyoto Imperial villa
3 Minami-kan Matsue, Shimane Prefecture Ryokan
4 Yamamoto- tei Katsushika, Tokyo Former residence
5 Gyokudō Art Museum Oume, Tokyo Museum
6 Heian Hotel Kyoto Hotel
7 Ritsurin Kōen Takamatsu, Kagawa Prefecture Former villa
8 Yōkō-kan Fukui, Fukui Prefecture Former villa
9 Kakurezato Kuruma-ya Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture Restaurant
10 Murin-an Kyoto Former villa

Selected by the US journal: Sukiya Living Magazine (The Journal of Japanese Gardening).

The runner-up Katsura Rikyū garden in Kyoto. © Ogurisu_Q/Pixta.
The runner-up Katsura Rikyū garden in Kyoto. © Ogurisu_Q/Pixta.

(Translated from Japanese. The karesansui (dry landscape) garden in Adachi Museum of Art. Banner photo © Adachi Museum of Art. Reproduction/copying of the image prohibited.)