©Kyoto National Museum
A Trove of Cultural Treasures at the Kyoto National Museum
One of Japan’s oldest museums has a remarkable collection of cultural treasures in an architecturally stunning setting
The Kyoto National Museum was opened in 1897 as the Imperial Museum of Kyoto. It was established by the government to protect the country’s endangered cultural properties from damage or destruction at a time when Japan was quickly modernizing. It took on its present name in 1952.
The museum presently houses almost 15,000 items, some from its own collection, others on long-term loan from temples, shrines, and private collections. The items are primarily pre-modern Japanese art, including archeological artifacts, paintings, sculpture, ceramics, calligraphy, lacquer and textiles.
The spacious Heisei Chishinkan Wing, designed by Taniguchi Yoshi (also responsible for the Museum of Modern Art in New York), is also worth a visit, with a classic traditional tea house, stone statues and bridges, and more.
A museum shop sells museum-related merchandise and the museum’s on-site café serves drinks and light meals. The schedule of exhibitions and events, including lectures and concerts, is posted on the official website.
Kyoto National Museum
527 Chaya-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto-fu