November 14, 2013

tokyo national museumTokyo National Museum was opened in 1872 as the first national museum of Japan.

In 1914, the original Main Gallery was constructed in almost the same place where the present Main Gallery stands.

The original Main Gallery was designed by the British architect Josiah Conder who also designed the Rokumeikan and Nikorai-do (Holy Resurrection Cathedral).

However, it was severely damaged in the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923, and the present Main Gallery was constructed in 1938 in an Eastern architectural style which is mainly based on the characteristics and preferences of the Japanese traditional culture. It’s an eathquake-and-fire-resistant building.

Today, Tokyo National Museum has five galleries, each of which is in a separate building, and 113,897 fine arts including 87 national treasures and 631 important cultural properties are in storage (as of March 31, 2012). In addition, 50 national treasures and 252 important cultural properties are deposited in this museum. Fine arts selected from these culturally important stored items are exhibited in an orderly sequence.



Samantabhadra Bodhisattva (National Treasure)


Especially, among the five galleries, the Main Gallery (Honkan) is worth visiting.

The theme of this gallery is Highlights of Japanese Art, and excellent art works including national treasures and important cultural properties are exhibited in 24 exhibition rooms on two floors.

On the first floor, you can appreciate Buddhist statues and sculptures, lacquerware, Japanese swords, and ceramics.

On the second floor, your can see the development of Japanese art from the Jomon period through to the Edo period (from around 14,000 B.C. to mid-19th century A.D.).

The art works on exhibition on this floor are many masterpieces of Buddhist art and courtly art, the arms and armor of samurai warriors, Noh and Kabuki costumes, and Ukiyo-e prints and paintings




Pine Trees by Hasegawa Tohaku (National Treasure)


There is a pond strolling garden, or landscape garden with a pond, where five Japanese-style historic buildings including three teahouses are relocated and preserved. This garden is open to the public twice a year, in spring and autumn.


As for opening hours, days closed, admission fees, and further information, please visit Tokyo National Museum website: click here.

Honkan (the Main Gallery) website: click here.

You can also appreciate National Treasures & Important  Cultural  Properties  of  National  Museums  in  Japan  in  e-Museum. e-Museum website: click here.


Tokyo National Museum is located in Ueno Park, Taito-Ward.

It’s about 10-minute walk from Ueno or Uguisudani Station on the JR Yamanote Line, 15-minute walk from Ueno Station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza and Hibiya Lines, and 15-minute walk from Nezu Station on the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda line.



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