The Tokyo National Museum Guide
A wealth of history and beauty in Japan
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The Tokyo National Museum Guide: A wealth of history and beauty in Japan
What kind of place is the Tokyo National Museum?The Tokyo National Museum in Ueno Park is the longest standing museum in Japan, open since 1872, known affectionately as "Tohaku." Including art and archeological findings from Japan and East Asia, a wide variety of cultural artifacts have been gathered over the past 150 years for a current collection of about 120,000 items. Of these, 3,000 items, including 89 national treasures and 649 important cultural properties, are on display as part of the “Regular Exhibitions.” Exhibits are changed around 300 times a year, so even frequent repeat visitors will always discover something new.
Labels and explanations in the “Tohaku” exhibition halls are displayed in four languages: Japanese, English, Chinese, and Korean, while the General Information pamphlet, featuring a map of the premises, is also published in French, German and Spanish. In addition, the voice guidance of the "Tohaku Navi" guide app introduces major works in four languages: Japanese, English, Chinese, and Korean. Listening to the guide app allows visitors from around the world to easily get the most out of the exhibitions.
Honkan: Masterpieces of Japanese Art
On the 1st floor of the Honkan, displays are divided by genre and theme, such as sculpture, ceramics, and swords. Those interested in Japanese traditional artisan crafts should take their time to thoroughly explore the works here. The Tohaku sword collection is particularly impressive with a chance to see a stunning array of famous blades including 19 national treasures in Japan’s largest collection. Great care has been taken in lighting and other display details to showcase the beauty of the ferrite and tempering patterns on the metal.
In addition, the current main building, opened in 1938, has itself been designated as an Important Cultural Property. Enjoy the atmosphere of the majestic exterior and entrance hall.
Heiseikan: Stories of the Ages told through Ancient Artifacts
The Heiseikan holds special exhibitions that change depending on the time of year. In the 1st floor permanent archaeological exhibition room, Japanese history can be experienced through excavated antiquities that differ from artworks. Feel the fascinating differences between each era and region of Japan, from B.C. to the 19th century.
Toyokan: A Tour of Asia through the Beauty of Art
Gallery of Horyuji Treasures: A Wealth of Buddhist Art & Altar Fittings
Kuroda Memorial Hall: Masters of the Modern Art World
Hyokeikan: Impressive Early 20th Century Western-style Architecture
Although the Hyokeikan is only open for special exhibitions and events, the gallery exterior alone is worth a visit. Opened in 1909, it is currently the oldest exhibition hall in Tohaku. Two statues of Buddha stand at the entrance of the Japanese temples and shrines, and two lions in the style of “A-un” figures are enshrined at the entrance.
TOHAKU CHAKAN: A Place to Experience Japanese Culture on Special Days
Within the refined elegance of this space surrounded by greenery, we forget being in the city center. Here, activities are held centered on a combination of the “3 E's”: Environment, Experience, and Education. One of these is the "ZEN breathing method." Generally held every Tuesday and Friday, participants are taught posture and ways of breathing to eliminate mental and physical stress based on ancient techniques from Zen Buddhism. Reservations can be made in advance, but even with no such arrangements people are welcome to join if space is available.
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