Mar. 25, 2019 UPDATE
The Tale of Genji Museum, Uji City- 宇治市源氏物語ミュージアム -
English, Chinese, Korean brochures are offered at the entrance. There are staff who speak English and free audio guides in 4 languages.
Japanese, English, Chinese, and Korean
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Story & Recommendation
Become familiar with Japan’s oldest novel, The Tale of Genji
The Tale of Genji Museum—in Uji City to the south of Kyoto—offers 10 exhibitions based on the stories of and to take you through the scenes of Japan’s oldest novel. The Tale of Genji was written by a very famous author in Japan, Murasaki-Shikibu. The novel is about the story of a noble man, Hikaru-Genji and his life in the aristocracy during the middle of the Heian period, over 1,000 years ago. As the last of the 54 chapters of the novel are set in Uji City, a museum was built there in 1998—and renewed in 2008—so you could enjoy exhibitions that would take you back to those times. There are exhibitions containing mannequins of Heian Period court ladies wearing replicas of elegant twelve-layered ceremonial kimonos called Junihitoe. The museum provides audio guides in English, Chinese, and Korean for free.
The Heian room
This room exhibits the lives of Heian Period aristocrats. Ladies of the court used to wear white powdered make-up and shave off their eyebrows as to be able to be seen inside the palaces, where sunlight was almost entirely shut out. A life sized ox carriage called Gissha—which was used for the court ladies—is also exhibited in this room.
The Uji room
The last 10 chapters of the Tale of Genji played out in Uji. In this room there is a corner where you can smell Koh (Japanese incense). The palace aristocrats enjoyed making original incense and presenting it to everyone in what was called Takimono-awase. Enjoy the aroma of these Koh as the Heian aristocrats did.
Take a photo of yourself in a ceremonial kimono or court dress
This area by the tea room and souvenir shop has a composite photograph printing machine that you are taken a photo of yourself wearing kimono with for \100. Actual kimono are hard to get on, but with these ones you can simply slide them on and it only takes a minute to print the photo of you wearing it.
- Manner & Tips -
The antennas of the audio guides are fragile, so please use them carefully.