【Notice of temporary closure】

Higashiyama Kaii Gallery is temporarily closed for renovation from May 31th, 2017.
Nagano Prefectural Shinano Art Museum is also closed for reconstruction from October 1st, 2017.




  • "Vibrant Greens" 1982

  • "Forest with a White Horse" 1972

  • "草青む" 1993



Nagano Prefectural Shinano Art Museum, located in Jôyama Park adjacent to Zenkôji Temple, was founded through by the concerted efforts of a local news corporation and the prefectural government in October of 1966, in response to the desire of the citizens for a museum in Nagano. When first established, it was just a foundation, but in 1969 it became a prefectural institution.

The collection of this art museum is the works of local artists and landscape paintings depicting the beautiful scenery of Shinshû. Thematic exhibitions are based on the four key elements of "recognizing and promoting local culture," "introducing a wide spectrum of art," "art in life," and "art that nurtures appreciation."

In addtion, the exhibitions offer opportunities for art groups and related organizations to present their work.


The Famous Japanes-style painting master HIGASHIYAMA Kaii(1908-1999) generously donated more than 960 of his works(painting, studies, sketches, etc.) and several hundred related books to Nagano Prefecture. To house and display these works, the Higashiyama Kaii Gallery was built next to the Shinano Art Museum, and opened in April 1990.

The gallery holds paintings such as "Vibrant Greens", "Forest with a White Horse" and "Evening Quiet", and a series of sketches such as "Landscape of Northern Europe", "Four Seasons of Kyôto", "Landscape with a White Horse" and "Spring and Autumn of Yamato". These are also sketches and studies for the Nitten Exhibition and screen paintings for the Tôshôdai-ji Temple that show his inspiration and the process of paintings. The exhibition is changed once every two months by theme. Please enjoy the art of painting master HIGASHIYAMA Kaii and reflect on his saying, "Landscape is a mirror of one's soul."



Café Kaii

Opening Hours
9:00 - 17:00 (admission by 16:30)
Wednesdays (Open, if Wednesday falls on a national holiday, etc.)
Year-End and New Year / Other occasions, as necessary
Schedule may be changed without notice.
Admission (For Museum Collection)
Adult: 500 (400) yen
University student: 300 (200) yen
Free entry for Senior High / Junior High / Elementary School Student * Figures shown in ( ) indicate group admission (more than 20 persons). * Admissions vary for special feature exhibitions * Free entry for people with disabilities and their attendants.
1-4-4(East of Zenkouji Temple), Hakoshimizu, Nagano-shi, Nagano, 380-0801, Japan
BUS(from JR Nagano Sta.) : Zenkôji-Kita stop on the Alpico Bus
TAXI : It takes about 15 mins. from JR Nagano Sta.
CAR : Jôshin’etsu Expressway to Nagano I.C. or Suzaka Nagano-higashi I.C.,toward Central Nagano,Zenkôji Temple and Higashiyama Kaii-kan (Free Parking is available around the museum building).



<West Building>
Total Floor Area : 1,863.45m2
Exhibition Area : 614.4m2
Desigin : Nikken Sekki, HAYASHI Shoji

<East Building>
Total Floor Area : 756.87m2
Exhibition Area : 374.4m2
Desigin : Nikken Sekki, HAYASHI Shoji

<storage Hall>
Total Floor Area : 476.06m2


Total Floor Area : 1,697.97m2
Exhibition Area : 544.2m2
Design : Taniguchi and Associates, TANIGUCHI Yoshio

More Information


"Luminous Cherry Blossoms"(Study) 1964-66

"Forest with a White Horse" 1972

"Passing Autumn" 1990

"Huangshan Mountains after Rain" 1978

"Quiet Town" 1971

"Evening Star"(Last Work) 1999

Born in Yokohama
Graduates from Tokyo School of Fine Arts (today's Tokyo University of the Arts)
Moves to Berlin, Germany to continue his study of Fine Arts
Marries KAWASAKI Sumi, the eldest daughter of the painter KAWASAKI Shoko
Wins a special commendation for his work "Dim Sunlight" in the Third Nitten (National Art Academy)
Appointed as a member of the Japan Art Academy
Completes the murals of the new Imperial Palace
Completes the first group of two murals for Tôshôdai-ji Temple
Completes the second group of three murals for Tôshôdai-ji Temple
Passes away age 90

On the Higashiyama Kaii Gallery

[Photographer]Toshio Terashima

It was sixty-four years ago, in 1926, that I first traveled to Shinshû. At the time, I was a first-year student of Japanese-style painting at Tokyo Fine Arts School. Together with three friends, carrying our gear on our backs, I hiked for ten days along the Kiso River and climbed Mount Ontake. I was born in Yokohama and spent my boyhood in Kobe, so I was greatly impressed by the awesomeness of nature, which I experienced for the first time in this mountainous region and by the contact I had with the warm-hearted, simple people who lived there.

On the evening of the second day of this trip, we arrived in Asō Village. As we looked for a place to camp further up the mountain road, large drops of rain began to fall. The sky grew dark, the rain began falling harder, and the thunder grew louder. The path turned into a waterfall and we sought refuge under the cedar trees as the thunder crashed and rolled unmercifully over our heads. We were forced to go back to the village.

When we knocked on the door of a farmhouse and explained our situation, the old woman there kindly let us in. We asked her to let us sleep on the dirt floor near the entrance, but she showed us into the living quarters and brought us tea. The old woman lived there with her son, who had gone out to practice the flute for an upcoming festival. While we were talking, the thunder died down and the rain stopped. The old woman invited us to go out with her, saying that there were no famous sights in the area, but that a park had been made nearby. It was an unexpectedly beautiful moonlit night. The park she had mentioned was very simple, just a few cherry trees which had been planted next to a hydroelectric power plant, but the old woman was very pleased with it.

To me, this quiet mountain view in the moonlight was wonderful, unlike anything that could be experienced in a city park. The air was clear and a refreshing breeze was blowing.

This trip had a great influence on me, although I did not realize it at the time. I came to understand it much later. I made many trips to the mountains after that and made many paintings of the scenery of the Shinano region. Eventually, I devoted my life to the single path of landscape painting.

Without knowing it, I have grown much older, and since I have no children, have come to the point in life where I must think seriously about what to do with my personal collection of my own work. After considering various possibilities, I decided to ask this favor of Nagano Prefecture, the region which has most nourished my art and which might be described my spiritual home. The result of my seemingly abrupt request which we see here today is due to the strong affection for the abundant natural beauty of Shinshû developed in my heart over the years.

I do not have enough words to thank the government of Nagano Prefecture for accepting my proposal so graciously and preparing this beautiful building.

April 1990
Higashiyama Kaii