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Monet's Pond: The Pond Where Art Comes to Life

In the woods just outside Seki City, in Japan’s Gifu Prefecture, is a small Shinto shrine that stands at the foot of a sloping hill overlooking a small rectangular pond and the valley below. Nemichi Shine consist of a single wooden building and is pretty unremarkable. But the pond is spectacular.

Until a few years ago this anonymous pond was totally unknown in Japan. But now a large number of visitors come here to see the lilies bloom and the koi fishes swim. The pond’s popularity is due to its striking resemblance to a series of paintings made by the French Impressionist painter Claude Monet. Since then, the previously unnamed pond has been called Monet’s Pond.

Monet's Pond

Monet’s Pond near Seki City, Japan. Photo credit: Gibson Enriquez Te/Shutterstock.com

According to JapanAllOver, the pond was originally a reservoir for the surrounding rice fields. In the 1990’s the pond was cleared by the owner of the nearby Itadori Flower Park, who also planted water lilies, while local people introduced the fish.

Monet began painting lily ponds at the age of sixty, inspired by the ponds he had in his gardens in Giverny, in northern France. Monet planted white water lilies local to France along with imported cultivars from South America and Egypt, resulting in a range of colors including yellow, blue and white lilies that turned pink with age. Monet devoted himself to painting lily ponds for the last twenty-six years of his life, producing approximately 250 oil paintings on the subject. These became some of Monet’s best known works.

Nemichi Shine is located almost in the middle of nowhere and cannot be reached without a car. Perhaps this is why the pond escaped attention for so many years. But now there is always a crowd near the site yielding cameras and smartphones.

Claude Monet water lillies

Water lilies by Claude Monet.

Monet's Pond

Monet’s Pond near Seki City, Japan. Photo credit: Gibson Enriquez Te/Shutterstock.com

Monet's Pond

Monet’s Pond near Seki City, Japan. Photo credit: janken/Shutterstock.com

Monet's Pond

Monet’s Pond near Seki City, Japan. Photo credit: T.IMAI/Shutterstock.com

Monet's Pond

Monet’s Pond near Seki City, Japan. Photo credit: T.IMAI/Shutterstock.com

Monet's Pond

Monet’s Pond near Seki City, Japan. Photo credit: T.IMAI/Shutterstock.com

Monet's Pond

Monet’s Pond near Seki City, Japan. Photo credit: Watsamon Thongsri/Shutterstock.com

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