Fodor's Expert Review Nara National Museum
One of the earliest examples of Western-style Meiji architecture, the Nara National Museum was completed in 1889 to much controversy over its decidedly non-Japanese design. True to Nara's reputation as the seat of Japanese culture, the museum houses sculpture from China, Korea, and Japan, though its collection focuses mainly on the Nara and Heian periods. The West Wing has paintings, calligraphy, ceramics, and archaeological artifacts from Japan, some dating back to the 10th-century BC. The East Wing is used for temporary exhibitions. During the driest days of November, the Shoso-in Repository, behind the Todai-ji, displays some of its magnificent collection.