【Notice of temporary closure】

Nagano Prefectural Shinano Art Museum is closed for reconstruction from October 1st, 2017.




  • Vibrant Green, 1982

  • Forest with a White Horse, 1972

  • Grass Turned Green, 1972



Nagano Prefectural Shinano Art Museum, located in Joyama Park adjacent to Zenkoji 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 Shinshu. 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.


Following a donation of Higashiyama Kaii’s own works from the Japanese-style painter (1908-1999) himself, the Higashiyama Kaii Gallery opened as an annex to Nagano Prefectural Shinano Art Museum on April 26, 1990. Enchanted by the rich nature in Shinshu (Nagano), Higashiyama called this prefecture “a spiritual home which most nourished my art.” Through his works lyrically representing an original view of nature, he solidified his position as a leading landscape artist of present-day Japan.

The Higashiyama Kaii Gallery received further donations of works and our collection currently totals more than 970 works, consisting of 34 honseisaku (final paintings), sketches and shusaku (studies), an oil painting, shitazu (underdrawings), etc. Besides numerous masterpieces, the collection is distinguished by the inclusion of countless preparatory works such as sketches and studies, which demonstrate the process through which Higashiyama’s paintings were produced. Selected works from the collection are displayed in six sessions per year.

The Higashiyama Kaii Gallery was designed by Taniguchi Yoshio, an architect who has been involved in the construction of a variety of art museums in Japan and abroad. Located in Joyama Park on the east side of Zenkoji Temple, it is a buoyant, modern building that opens out to scenic nature. With a characteristic courtyard containing a pond, you can enjoy Higashiyama’s art in a tranquil atmosphere.



9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (no admittance after 4:30 p.m.)
Admission fees
Adults: 500 yen (400 yen)
College students: 300 yen (200 yen)
( ) Rates for groups of 20 or more
Admission is free for high school students and younger children, holders of handicap certification,nursing notebook,mental handicap health welfare notebook and one caretaker
By Car - 30 min. from Nagano I.C. or Suzaka Nagano-Higashi I.C. (Joshin'etsu Expressway). Head for Central Nagano and Zenkoji.
(No parking available at the Museum. Please use nearby pay parking lots. If possible,Please use public transport).
By Public Transport - From JR Nagano Station, Zenkoji-guchi Bus Stop (1):Take Alpico Kotsu Local-line Bus nos. 11,16, or 17. Get off at "Zenkoji-kita". Keep walking ahead. The Museum is 3 min. Walk from Zenkoji, beyond Joyama Park.
By Taxi - Take a taxi from Zenkoji-guchi Exit taxi stand (10-min. ride).
1-4-4 Hakoshimizu, Nagano-shi, Nagano, Japan 380-0801
Phone +81-(0)26-232-0052
Facsimile +81-(0)26-232-0050
(Higashiyama Kaii Gallery is located within Joyama Park on the east side of Zenkoji Temple.)



Temporarily closed for reconstructuin from October 1st, 2017



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

1908 Age 0
Born in Yokohama on July 8, real name Higashiyama Shinkichi.
1911 Age 3
The family moves to Kobe.
1926 Age 18
Enters the Nihonga (Japanese-style painting) Course at Tokyo Fine Arts School.
Travels with friends and a tent on back around Shinshu, making his way up Kiso River and climbing Mount Ontake.
1931 Age 23
Graduates from the Nihonga Course at Tokyo Fine Arts School and proceeds to the Graduate Course, where he studies under Yuki Somei and personally decides to assume the pseudonym "Kaii."
1933 Age 25
Completes the Graduate Course at Tokyo Fine Arts School, August: Goes to Germany to study Western art (until 1935).
1940 Age 32
Marries Kawasaki Sumi, the eldest daughter of the nihonga painter Kawasaki Shoko.
1945 Age 37
Drafted into the Kumamoto corps in July and the war ends while there. Moves to Ichikawa, Chiba and resumes painting.
1947 Age 39
Afterglow (conceived in Kujukutani, Kanozan, Chiba) wins special recognition at The Third Nitten and is purchased by the government. As a consequence, Higashiyama decides to become a landscape painter.1950 Age 42 Road (conceived along the Tanesashi Coast in Aomori), which was
1950 Age 42
Road (conceived along the Tanesashi Coast in Aomori), which was submitted to The Sixth Nitten, proves popular.
1962 Age 54
Travels around Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland with his wife from April to July and does sketches.
1968  Age 60
Completes Dawn Tide, a large mural for Nami-no-Ma, the lobby in Chowa-Den at the New Imperial Palace.
1969  Age 61
Goes on a sketching tour with his wife around ancient towns of Germany and Austria. Receives an Order of Cultural Merit.
1973 Age 65
Travels around Japan studying coasts and mountains in preparation for the first part of the Toshodai-ji murals.
An exhibition of landscapes with white horses by Higashiyama Kaii is held at Matsuya Ginza and other locations.
1981  Age 73
Following the completion of the first set of the Toshodai-ji murals, Mountain Clouds and The Sound of the Waves, in 1975 (age 67) and the second set, Huangshan Mountains in Morning Mist, Fresh Breeze on Yangtze River, and Moonlit Evening in Guilin, in 1980 (age 72), he dedicates Auspicious Lights, feretory paintings for the statue of Priest Ganjin, to Toshodai-ji. This marks the completion of all the paintings on the walls and fusuma for this temple Higashiyama had been working on continuously for ten years.
1987  Age 79
Donates his own works (more than altogether 500 paintings, studies, sketches, underdrawings, etc.) in his possession en bloc to Nagano Prefecture.
1990  Age 82
Higashiyama Kaii Gallery opens as an annex to Nagano Prefectural Shinano Art Museum on April 26 and an exhibition tracing Higashiyama's artistic career through the works he donated is held to commemorate the opening.
1997  Age 89
Makes a second donation of more than 400 of his own works in his possession to Nagano Prefecture. Altogether more than 960 works are housed in the Higashiyama Kaii Gallery.
1999 Age 90
Dies on May 6. Conferred Junior Third Rank, Grand Cordon of the Order of the Sacred Treasure.

On the Higashiyama Kaii Gallery

[Photographer]TERASHIMA Teruo

It was sixty-four years ago, in the summer of 1926, that I first traveled to Shinshu. 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 Shinshu 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