Kyoto National Museum

Sights Type / Museums & galleries
  • Kyoto National Museum
  • Kyoto National Museum
  • Kyoto National Museum
  • Kyoto National Museum
  • Kyoto National Museum
  • Kyoto National Museum
  • Kyoto National Museum
  • Kyoto National Museum
  • Kyoto National Museum
  • Kyoto National Museum
  • Kyoto National Museum
  • Kyoto National Museum
  • Kyoto National Museum
  • Kyoto National Museum
  • Kyoto National Museum
  • Kyoto National Museum
  • Kyoto National Museum
  • Kyoto National Museum
  • Kyoto National Museum
  • Kyoto National Museum
Location

Kyoto, Japan

Address

English address: 527 Chaya-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Japan

Japanese address: 東山区茶屋町527

Getting there

Access:

Via JR or Subway: Get off at Kyoto Station. From bus platform D2 in front of the station, take City Bus #206 or #208 to "Hakubutsukan Sanjusangendo-mae" bus stop.

Via Keihan Railway: Get off at Shichijo Station. Walk toward the East along Shichijo Street about seven minutes.

Via Hankyu Railway: Get off at Kawaramachi Station. Walk toward the East over the bridge to the Keihan Railway Gionshijo Station. Take Osaka-bound Keihan train to Shichijo Station. Walk toward the East along Shichijo Street about seven minutes.

Telephone

+81 75-525-2473

More information

http://www.kyohaku.go.jp/jp/index.html, https://foursquare.com/v/kyoto-national-museum/,

Prices

Adult: 520 yen (General Group of more than 20: 410 yen)

University Student (ID required): 260 yen (General Group of more than 20: 210 yen)

*High school student or younger are free.

*Admission of Special Exhibition is separate fee.

Opening hours

Tue - Sun: 9:30 am - 5:00 pm (Entrance until 4:30 pm)

Duration of special exhibition:

Tue - Thurs, Sat and Sun: 9:30 am - 6:00 pm (Entrance until 5:30 pm)

Fri: 9:30 am - 8:00 pm (Entrance until 7:30 pm)

Closed every Monday (or the following day if Monday is a public holiday), New Year holidays

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The Kyoto National Museum (京都国立博物館 Kyōto Kokuritsu Hakubutsukan?) is one of the major art museums in Japan. Located in Kyoto's Higashiyama ward, the museum focuses on pre-modern Japanese and Asian art.

History

The Kyoto National Museum, then the Imperial Museum of Kyoto, was proposed, along with the Imperial Museum of Tokyo (Tokyo National Museum) and the Imperial Museum of Nara (Nara National Museum), in 1889, and construction on the museum finished in October, 1895. The museum was opened in 1897. The museum went through a series of name changes, in 1900 changing its name to the Imperial Household Museum of Kyoto, and once more in 1924 to the Imperial Gift Museum of Kyoto. The current name, the Kyoto National Museum, was decided upon in 1952.

Timeline

The growth and development of today's museum has been an evolving process: history

  • 1897—Museum is established as the "Imperial Museum of Kyoto."
  • 1900—Museum is renamed the "Imperial Household Museum of Kyoto."
  • 1924—Museum is donated to City of Kyoto; and Museum is renamed the "Imperial Gift Museum of Kyoto."
  • 1952—Committee for the Preservation of Cultural Properties (national government) assumes responsibility for Museum collections; and Museum is renamed "Kyoto National Museum."
  • 1966—Collection Hall is completed.
  • 1969—Special Exhibition Hall, Main Gate, ticket booth, and fences are designated "Important Cultural Properties" under the name of the former "Imperial Museum of Kyoto.'
  • 1973—Saturday Lecture Series, 1st session is held.
  • 1979—Conservation Center for Cultural Properties is completed.
  • 2001—South Gate is constructed as a part of a project for the 100th Year Anniversary Hall.
  • 2001—Museum is renamed the "Kyoto National Museum" of the "Independent Administrative Institution National Museum" (IAI National Museum).
  • 2005—IAI National Museum is expanded with addition of Kyushu National Museum.
  • 2007—IAI National Museum is merged into Independent Administrative Institution National Institutes for Cultural Heritage (NICH), combining the four national museums with the former National Institutes for Cultural Preservation at Tokyo and Nara.

Layout

The museum consists of several buildings, the most prominent being the Special Exhibition Hall (Main Exhibition Hall), designed by Katayama Tōkuma in 1895, and The Collections Hall (New Exhibition Hall), designed in 1966 by Morita Keiichi. In September 2014, the museum completed renovations on a new permanent collections hall, the Heisei Chishinkan Wing (The Collections Galleries), designed by Yoshio Taniguchi, known for his redesign of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and his design of the Gallery of Hōryū-ji Treasures at the Tokyo National Museum.

The regular exhibitions are shown in The Collections Galleries, while the Special Exhibition Hall is used for special exhibits. The Main Exhibition Hall, the Main Gate, and the Ticket Area have all been designated as Important Cultural Properties in Japan.

Museum Collections

The museum was originally built to house and display art treasures privately owned by temples and shrines, as well as items donated by the Imperial Household Ministry. Currently, most all of the items in the museum are more or less on permanent loan from one of those places.

The museum is divided into three parts: Fine Arts, including sculptures, paintings and works of calligraphy; Handicrafts, including pottery, fabrics, lacquerwares and metalworks; and Archaeology, including objects of archaeological and historical interest. Altogether, the museum houses over 12,000 works, of which around 6,000 are on display at the museum. The museum also boasts photographic archives containing over 200,000 photographic negatives and color transparencies. In the Fine Arts collections alone, there are more than 230 pieces that have been designated as either National Treasures or Important Cultural Properties.

The museum focuses on mainly pre-modern Japanese works (it is said to have the largest collection of Heian period artifacts) and Asian art. The museum is also well known for its collections of rare and ancient Chinese and Japanese sutras. Other famous works include senzui byōbu (landscape screen) from the 11th century, and the gakizōshi (Scroll of Hungry Ghosts) from the 12th century.

How to get there

The Kyoto National Museum is located across the street from Sanjusangendo, next to the Hakubutsukan-Sanjusangendo-mae bus stop (10 minutes, 230 yen from Kyoto Station by bus numbers 100, 206 or 208). 

Alternatively, the museum can be reached in a five minute walk from Shichijo Station along the Keihan Line or in a 20-25 minute walk from Kyoto Station.

Reviews by visitors

When you are in the former capital, you have to absorb history, culture and the spirit. The Art of Zen - From Mind to Form.

It was a delight to experience the exhibits, learn about the history and absorb the love and care that had gone in to creating the artifacts on display. It was a treat to sight such beautiful pieces.

~ mypace

All three floors were perfect, from the pottery and lacquer to the scrolls and textiles. Of course, the stunning religious sculptures were amazing! Note that you cannot take pictures.

I highly recommend paying for the audio tour, as it was fascinating and very insightful.

While it might not feel as classical, in the new building, it is definitely still worth two hours.

~ kimberley

A great museum with a lot of history and special exhibition you can't take pictures inside but you can easily spend 2 hours here, it was one of the best museums in Kyoto

~ mie

The Kyoto National museum is a short 15-20 minute walk from Kyoto station. The grounds are beautiful. Inside the main building are three stories of art, sculptures, artifacts, and other historic items of significance. I enjoyed the big statues on the main floor. Each room has an explanation of what is in the room (in English)

~ kat

visited the Kyoto National Museum for the first time during the Rinpa exhibition. The crowd was quiet and well behaved . I was impressed with the design of the new wing of this historic museum & the number of national treasures lent for the show. Of course , I would have enjoyed a private viewing of this magnificent show , including scrolls, ceramics , statues, screens, but the crowds were organized well. The museum is easy to find at the Shichioji station of the Keihan railway and across from the popular Sanjusangendo temple. There's a great organic cafe at the foot of the bridge at Shochioji called Vegout, just across the Kamo river from the subway station. The small park in front of the museum , with shady benches and cooling fountains, is a nice place to chill out after the crowds. So, if the exhibition interests you, go!

~ nancy

We went to see the Louvre exhibition to Kyoto Museum of Art.

I felt the splendor of customs painting.

~ sunanyan

The very contemporary building designed by arquitect Taniguchi is breathtaking and a must see. Inside they have a beautiful collection of Japanese art displayed very beautifully. If you are interested in Arquitectura and Art this is a must.

~ mundosully

We took a break from the crowds and heat to visit this museum. The exhibits were all interesting and the Buddha statues on the first floor were simply amazing.

~ karin

The new wing is superb. If you want to see great examples of ancient Chinese and Japanese ceramics, artefacts and paintings then you will not be disappointed. Lots of space and cafe and restaurant. Yes no photos but is that not great?

A visit is paired well with the Temple across the road.

~ john

In Asia, art and religion are interwoven.This museum showcases how Japanese Buddhism derived from Indian and Chinese Buddhism and they have a few masterpieces in their scrolls and sculpture collection. There is also a reasonably priced restaurant run by the Hyatt Regency with tasty food and a relaxing ambiance on the ground floor inside the museum.

~ carmen

If you travel to Kyoto to experience Japan's cultural heritage, a visit to Kyoto National Museum provides a helpful historical perspective.

The museum's exhibits are well-curated. The artifacts and artwork are displayed so as not to be overwhelming. The English explanations are cogent and understandable.

The Kyoto National Museum helps visitors make sense of what they see in the temples, shrines, and public spaces of this unique and ancient city.

~ darrah

It is a small well curated museum. I will not take too long to see. The picture shows the old building. It is now housed in a modern building and it is very well done. It was 500Y but free for people over 70-bring ID.

~ starviagera

A very pleasant surprise by all the statues and artefacts shown in this Museum. It looks like it went through a recent renovation. We were staying at the Hyatt across the street and decided to go to check it out. We did not regret our visit. It is really worth to visit if even if you are not staying close by.

~ maria

We visited the Kyoto National Museum to get good overall picture of both Japanese history and better understand the temples of Kyoto.

The museum has an impressive collection of Japanese art and artefacts, calligraphy and sculptors. Well presented and a more than perfect way to spend a rainy morning.

~ tord

One of the best museums we visited in Japan. Very nice museum with an interesting architechure as well. Well displayed collection of old japanese culture items, including some beautiful large statues. In Japan museums tend to be rather sparse for european standards but that did not bother me at all. Old building was closed for renovation.

~ acoustesh

Super nice outlook of the new museum design, simple and modern, it's good to take a walk and take photo.

~ ganbadeh

See more Kyoto travel guide at here.