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The Tokyo National Museum Guide A wealth of history and beauty in Japan


December 2023

Special Feature:
The Tokyo National Museum Guide
A wealth of history and beauty in Japan

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New place to stay at Haneda: Mercure Tokyo Haneda Airport

November 26, 2023 Haneda Accommodation
  • Mercure Tokyo Haneda Airport
  • Mercure Tokyo Haneda Airport
  • Mercure Tokyo Haneda Airport
The 363-room Mercure Tokyo Haneda Airport hotel opens on November 26 near the gateway to Japan, Haneda Airport. This new, convenient option for jetsetters is just 10-minutes’ drive from the airport and 4-minutes’ walk from Keihin Kyuko Otorii Station. Feel both new and nostalgic in the “TOKYO ECLECTIC” inspired interior. The concept reflects the character of the location, offering the vibes of nearby retro neighborhoods, but also easy access to the city center. A restaurant and bar join a fitness center and meeting rooms for a full suite of facilities.

Unlock the mystery of “washoku” at this multifaceted exhibition

October 28, 2023 - February 25, 2024 Ueno Exhibition
  • washoku
  • washoku
  • washoku
  • washoku
  • washoku
  • washoku
For foreign travelers, Japanese food is one of the main draws to the country. The year 2023 marks the 10th year since Japanese cuisine was registered as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. At the National Museum of Nature and Science in Ueno until February 25 next year, the Special Exhibition “WASHOKU: Nature and Culture in Japanese Cuisine” reveals the mysteries behind its charms. A wide selection of samples and exhibits shed light on unique ingredients and techniques rooted in the terroir of each region of Japan. From multiple viewpoints, whether historical or scientific, learn about how this unique cuisine developed amid Japan's rich natural bounty. Perfect for foodies who hunger for a deeper taste of this fascinating culture.

Stay in a Kabuki-themed hotel room

November 1, 2023 - September 30, 2024 Iidabashi Accommodation
  • Kabuki-themed hotel room
  • Kabuki-themed hotel room
  • Kabuki-themed hotel room
  • Kabuki-themed hotel room
  • Kabuki-themed hotel room
  • Kabuki-themed hotel room
Kabuki is a traditional Japanese performance art registered as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Property. From November, you can stay in a concept room inspired by this theatrical art form at HOTEL METROPOLITAN EDMONT TOKYO in Iidabashi. Everywhere you look, the motifs of gorgeous costumes and the unique cosmetics of “kumadori” appear throughout the space, with plenty of photo spots for a night to remember. In the hotel lobby, actual costumes are on display along with panels and videos explaining Kabuki. Staying guests also get exclusive gifts.

Meguro River “Winter Cherry Blossoms” illuminate SDGs with clean energy

November 10, 2023 - January 8, 2024 Osaki, Gotanda Event
  • Winter Cherry Blossoms
  • Winter Cherry Blossoms
  • Winter Cherry Blossoms
  • Winter Cherry Blossoms
  • Winter Cherry Blossoms
  • Winter Cherry Blossoms
Famous for cherry blossoms, Tokyo’s Meguro River riverside is packed with people in spring. Until January 8, the Meguro River between Osaki and Gotanda is lit up in an event imagined as "winter cherry blossoms." Approximately 380,000 LED bulbs shine over a 2.2 km stretch, painting the riverside in bright, twinkling pink. All electricity is generated “in-house” by collecting used cooking oil from surrounding establishments and converting it into biodiesel fuel. This groundbreaking initiative has continued for over 10 years, and is a wonderful way to support SDGs while enjoying the festive lights.

The Tokyo National Museum Guide: A wealth of history and beauty in Japan

Tokyo National Museum For many people, visiting a museum is a common way to learn more about certain regions. Tokyo is home to many museums, but the Tokyo National Museum is one of the pre-eminent institutions of the country. Whether newcomers to the nation, or longtime fans of Japan, everyone is sure to find something to enjoy here. For first-time visitors, the sheer size and number of exhibits may be overwhelming. For those in a rush, the scale is so great that half a day is never enough, and for others who wish to truly appreciate the exhibits, even a full day here seems insufficient. To make the most of limited time in Tokyo, here is a guide to the treasures displayed in each of the six exhibition halls of the Tokyo National Museum.

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

Honkan Honkan Honkan
The façade of this exhibition hall seen from the front gate is known as the symbol of Tohaku. Often the first stop for many visitors, the 2nd floor exhibition room expresses the theme "the Flow of Japanese Art," and traces trends in Japanese art from the Jomon period over 10,000 years ago to the Edo period (1603-1868).

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.
entrance hall

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

Toyokan Toyokan Toyokan
Toyokan exhibits include arts, crafts, and archaeological relics from Asian countries. Works of art here are from a wide ranging part of the world including Egypt, West Asia, China, Korea, India, and Southeast Asia, offering endless delight to those whose interests extend beyond Japan to the cultures of all Asia.

Gallery of Horyuji Treasures: A Wealth of Buddhist Art & Altar Fittings

Gallery of Horyuji Treasures Gallery of Horyuji Treasures
Gilt bronze Buddhist statues, Buddhist altar fittings, and sutras presented to the imperial family by Horyuji Temple in Nara Prefecture in the Asuka and Nara periods (7th to 8th centuries), are on display. The heartfelt prayers of generations handed down through centuries can be felt in this place of deep serenity. Exhibits here are of great fascination for anyone interested in Buddhism.

Kuroda Memorial Hall: Masters of the Modern Art World

Kuroda Memorial Hall Kuroda Memorial Hall
The Kuroda Memorial Hall has a different sense of elegance than the exhibition halls introduced so far. On display are the works of Seiki Kuroda (1866-1924), a Western-style painter who greatly influenced the development of modern art in Japan. Recommended for those who appreciate modern fine art.

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

Beyond the six buildings introduced so far, other valuable structures have been relocated from all over Japan to the Tohaku grounds. One of these is the Okyokan. First built in Aichi Prefecture in 1742, then donated to the Tokyo National Museum in 1933, it now serves as a facility to experience Japanese culture (until January 28, 2024).

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.
Other experiences include a stroll through the Japanese garden dressed in kimono, culinary experiences to taste Japanese sake or whiskey, and dishes made with Japanese ingredients. After enjoying the riches of cultural artifacts, an experience at Okyokan is a chance to further deepen our understanding of Japan and create unforgettable memories.

For more information on the Tokyo National Museum:

For more information about TOHAKU teahouse and reservations:
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Issued by: Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Supported by: Tourism Division, Bureau of Industrial and Labor Affairs, Tokyo Metropolitan Government.