- Places to Explore
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
- Japanese Phrases
Tokyo National Museum (Tokyo Kokuritsu Hakubutsukan)
Tokyo National Museum (Tokyo Kokuritsu Hakubutsukan) Review
This complex of four buildings grouped around a courtyard is one of the world's great repositories of East Asian art and archaeology. Altogether, the museum has some 87,000 objects in its permanent collection, with several thousand more on loan from shrines, temples, and private owners.
The Western-style building on the left (if you're standing at the main gate), with bronze cupolas, is the Hyokeikan. Built in 1909, it was devoted to archaeological exhibits; aside from the occasional special exhibition, the building is closed today. The larger Heiseikan, behind the Hyokeikan, was built to commemorate the wedding of crown prince Naruhito in 1993 and now houses Japanese archaeological exhibits. The second floor is used for special exhibitions.
In 1878, the 7th-century Horyu-ji (Horyu Temple) in Nara presented 319 works of art in its possession—sculpture, scrolls, masks, and other objects—to the Imperial Household. These were transferred to the National Museum in 2000 and now reside in the Horyu-ji Homotsukan (Gallery of Horyu-ji Treasures), which was designed by Yoshio Taniguchi. There's a useful guide to the collection in English, and the exhibits are well explained. Don't miss the hall of carved wooden gigaku (Buddhist processional) masks.
The central building in the complex, the 1937 Honkan, houses Japanese art exclusively: paintings, calligraphy, sculpture, textiles, ceramics, swords, and armor. Also here are 84 objects designated by the government as National Treasures. The Honkan rotates the works on display several times during the year. It also hosts two special exhibitions annually (April and May or June, and October and November), which feature important collections from both Japanese and foreign museums. These, unfortunately, can be an ordeal to take in: the lighting in the Honkan is not particularly good, the explanations in English are sketchy at best, and the hordes of visitors make it impossible to linger over a work you especially want to study. The more attractive Toyokan, to the right of the Honkan, reopened in 2013 after extensive renovations. Completed in 1968, it is devoted to the art and antiquities of China, Korea, Southeast Asia, India, the Middle East, and Egypt.
- Address: 13–9 Ueno Koen, Taitō-ku Ueno and Yanaka, Tokyo, 110-8712 | Map It
- Phone: 03/3822–1111
- Cost: Regular exhibits ¥600, special exhibits approx. ¥1,500
- Hours: Tues.–Sun. 9:30–5, times vary during special exhibitions
- Website: www.tnm.jp
- Subway: JR Ueno Station (Koen-guchi/Park Exit).
- Location: Ueno
Fodor's Trip Planning Ideas
- Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards: Check out the winners of 2013
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Best of Europe: Fodor's Picks the Best Places to Visit in Europe
DH and I spent 3 weeks in Japan from Nov.1-Noiv. 22. By way of introduction, we are both retired, and have traveled extensively over the past 40 years, sometimes on tours and sometimes on our own. With Read more
This was our first trip to Japan. Read more
The photos can be found here:
http://craigandjeane.smugmug.com/Travel/Japan-2013/35137168_fn24ZF#!i=2947031549&k=VfzVjD5 Read more
· News & Features
Japan is not only a land for all seasons, it's a destination for all travelers. ... Read more
Whether it's the sushi, the style, or the neon lights that call to you, Tokyo has endless wow factor.... Read more
A cross between Hong Kong and Tokyo, Taipei offers everything from upscale design hotels to themed cafes,... Read more