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       man2.jpg     Located in the beautiful city of Hokuto, Yamanashi, amidst the breathtaking views of Mt. Fuji and Mt. Yatsugatake, is an art museum dedicated to the work of Gen Adachihara. Adachihara’s work primarily consists of traditional Buddhist painting, and grand scale replicas of sacred mandalas. It’s known more colloquially as the “Mandala Museum”.


Founded in 1995, the collection includes several works of Buddhist symbolism including sculptures and mandalas (some of which exceed 5m2). The astounding replicas of important works impress even experts in the field of Buddhist art for their richness and meticulous attention to detail.




















Currently in charge of the museum is Chiyuki Adachihara, Gen Adachihara's daughter-in-law. She kindly explained to our team the meaning of the Buddhist traditions behind each piece and the techniques involved in producing the works. According to Chiyuki, one of the larger mandala replicas took 10 years to paint.

Due to the religious nature of the Buddhist tradition, many original works are safeguarded in museums or private collections and are not permitted to be photographed or reprinted in books. To produce a replica, an artist must visit the original work multiple times and make what is called an “observation drawing”. It may take several visits and extensive research due to the sheer quantity of detail in the stories and images that are depicted. Based on their observation drawings, an artist will often reproduce small canvasses, one section at a time, and combine them to form the whole mandala.  

 The Mandala Museum also offers a painting workshop to introduce visitors to painting techniques used in the Buddhist tradition! The materials are provided, and visitors can choose from different historical figures to replicate. When we tried it ourselves, Chiyuki taught us how to prepare and hold our brushes the proper way, and how to mix and blend colors.












Before applying the paint, first you have to trace a carbon copy of the artwork you are going to replicate. This makes it easy for those who only have little drawing or painting experience. All skill levels can enjoy the workshop. You can be as creative and playful as you like with the colors and can even add shimmery gold highlights just like the gold in the real Buddhist works. 





Most visitors to the workshop prefer at least an hour and half for painting. Once you get the hang of how to apply the colors to the screen, it's simply too much fun to stop! You won’t want to rush your painting when you see how beautiful your artwork turns out! :)


 ・Adachigen Museum

For more information see their facebook here (link( External link )) or their official homepage( External link )

2385-5 Murayama Higashiwari, Takane-cho, Hokuto-shi, Yamanashi 408-0019 [MAP]( External link )
Train: 15 minutes by car from Nagasaka Station on the JR Chuo Main Line
Car: 8km from Sutama IC on the Chuo Expressway, about 10 minutes



Published on

  • April 15, 2021


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