Jan. 22, 2018 UPDATE

Kyoto National Museum

- 京都国立博物館 -
The Kyoto National Museum is one of the famous museums in Kyoto housing some of the most important cultural properties of Japan
*Reuse and copying of the images used in this article is strictly forbidden. The Kyoto National Museum was founded during the Meiji period to protect important cultural artifacts that had until then been held by shrines and temples. The museum has two wings, the Heisei Chishinkan Wing and the Meiji Kotokan Hall, where they mainly display important cultural properties from Kyoto. Both wings of the museum are architecturally significant; the Meiji period Western style red brick Special Exhibition Hall, Meiji Kotokan, the Main Gate of the museum, and the new and modern Heisei Chishinkan Wing just opened in 2014. At the museum they hold two kinds of exhibitions, special exhibitions twice a year with a specific topic and thematic exhibitions showing artifacts and artwork from the museum collection, which are reinstalled regularly. They have sculptures, metalwork, illustrated handscrolls, Buddhist paintings, and lacquerware on display, some of them designated as National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties of Japan. Besides these exhibitions, there are also outdoor exhibits and even a quaint tea house, so there really is a lot to see at this museum that is representative of Kyoto.
Special Exhibition Hall
Special Exhibition Hall
The Special Exhibition Hall stands out because of its red brick French Renaissance style, and it is the most well-known building of the museum. The Special Exhibition Hall, or Meiji Kotokan, was built in the Meiji period and has kept its original look remarkably well. The Meiji Kotokan is closed now for seismic upgrades and renovation.
Heisei Chishinkan Wing
Heisei Chishinkan Wing
Heisei Chishinkan is very different compared to the nostalgic Special Exhibition Hall; this one is a modern, architecturally stylish part of the museum opened in 2014. The grated windows of the building look almost like sliding doors, and the building has a definite Japanese feel to it. At Heisei Chishinkan Wing you get to see thematic exhibitions where artifacts and artwork from the museum collection are displayed, and special exhibitions twice a year. Both before and after special exhibitions the museum is closed for installation, so check the museum website before you go.
Tea ceremony at the tea house “Tan’an”
3Good Experiences
Tea ceremony at the tea house “Tan’an”
Behind the Special Exhibition Hall you can find a quiet tea house in the refined sukiya-zukuri style. The tea house is in the early Meiji period style of the court nobles, but it can be used by anyone as long as they make a reservation at least six months in advance.
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Overseas Tourist-Friendly
3.5 experience3.5 access5.0 photogenic2.0
This famous museum is usually mentioned first when talking about museums in Kyoto. The thematic exhibitions, in which the artifacts and artwork held by the museum are exhibited, change periodically so you won’t get bored even if you visit the museum many times. The museum can even be enjoyed by just walking on the vast precincts, as you can look at the red brick Special Exhibition Hall, the modern architecture, and look at the tea house and the artwork outside.
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Kyoto National Museum / 京都国立博物館
Category Museums & Galleries
Phone +81 75-525-2473
Address 527 Chaya-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City 605-0931
Directions The Kyoto National Museum is a 7-minute walk from both JR Tofukuji and Keihan Shichijo stations.
Open Hours From Tuesday to Thursday and Sundays: 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Entrance until 4:30 p.m.) Fridays and Saturdays: June: 9:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. (Entrance until 7:30 p.m.) July, August, September 1, 2: 9:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (Entrance until 8:30 p.m.)
Reservations -
Closed Mondays and from December 25, 2017, to January 1, 2018. *If Monday is a national holiday the museum will be open but closed the following Tuesday. *Thematic Exhibitions are closed on the following days: 2017: September 5 to October 1, November 28 to December 17. 2018: March 20 to April 5.
Price range
General: 520 yen, university students: 260 yen. *High school students and those under 18 or over 70 get in for free. *The admission to Special Exhibitions requires a separate fee. *If there is a Special Exhibition you cannot buy the ticket for the Heisei Chishinkan Wing Thematic Exhibitions.
Credit cards Accepted.
Overseas Tourist-Friendly
The museum is easily accessible from Kyoto Station plus they also have a website in English.
Information Japanese and English.
Lanuages spoken English, but only at the information desk.
URL1 http://www.kyohaku.go.jp/eng/index.html
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