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The original Main Gallery (designed by the British architect Josiah Conder) was severely damaged in the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. In contrast to western style of the original structure, the design of the present Honkan by Watanabe Jin is the more eastern "Emperor's Crown Style." Construction began in 1932, and the building was opened in 1938.
24 exhibition rooms on two floors provide a thorough introduction into Japanese art: "Highlights of Japanese Art" on the second floor introduces the development of Japanese art from Jomon through to the Edo period in a chronological manner, and genre galleries presenting specific rooms displaying ceramics, swords, lacquerwares, sculptures, modern decorative arts as well as the material culture of Ainu and Ryukyu are located on the first floor.

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2nd floor "Highlights of Japanese Art"

The Dawn of Japanese Art: Jomon, Yayoi and Kofun periods
Room 1  May 31, 2016 (Tue) - December 11, 2016 (Sun)

The Jomon culture began around 12,000 years ago. Earthenware vessels of this age with various motifs and styles are the starting point of "Highlights of Japanese Art." In the Yayoi period (450 B.C.- A.D. 250), pottery with a simplistic yet refined beauty and dotaku bell-shaped bronzes were prominent. Typical objects from the Kofun period (A.D. 250-600), such as haji, sue wares and haniwa figurines, as well as mirrors, arms and armor, saddlery, and accessory, which expresses the essence of metal and glass craftsmanship, are also featured.

Current exhibit includes:
Dancing People, Haniwa (Terracotta Tomb Figurine), Excavated from Nohara Tumulus, Miyawaki, Nohara, Kumagaya-shi, Saitama, Kofun period, 6th century
Haniwa (Terracotta tomb figurine), Woman in full dress, Excavated from Yokotsuka, Toyoshiro-cho, Isezaki-shi, Gunma, Kofun period, 6th century (Important Cultural Property)
Dogu (Clay figurine), With goggle-shaped eyes, Excavated from Rokugoishinadate, Misato-cho, Akita, Jomon period, 1000 - 400BC,
Jar, Excavated from Takakura-cho, Atsuta-ku, Nagoya-shi, Aichi, Yayoi period, 1st-3rd century (Important Cultural Property, Gift of Mr. Tokugawa Yorisada)
Footed Long-necked Jar, Sue ware, Excavated from Kaniana Tumulus, Toshi-cho, Toba-shi, Mie, Kofun (Asuka) period, 7th century (Important Cultural Property, Gift of Mr. Kawahara Shozo)

The Rise of Buddhism: Asuka - Nara period
Room 1  June 21, 2016 (Tue) - August 7, 2016 (Sun)

In the mid-6th century, Buddhism was officially introduced into Japan from the kingdom of Baekje on the southeastern coast of the Korean peninsula. Japanese culture made a remarkable progress with the adoption of Buddhism. This gallery features early Buddhist statues, sutras, reliquaries, and ritual implements from the Asuka and Nara periods.

Current exhibit includes:
Standing Nyorai (Buddha), Horyuji Treasures, Asuka period, 7th century
Shibun kaihon Monastic Code of Conduct with Preface, Nara period, dated 768 (Gift of Mr. Hori Tatsu)
Ritual Objects Used to Consecrate Site of Kohfukuji Temple, Excavated from under altar of Main Hall at Kohfukuji, Nara, Nara period, 8th century (National Treasure)
Reliquary, Excavated from former Mishima Temple site at Oda, Ibaraki-shi, Osaka, Nara period, 8th century (Important Cultural Property, Gift of Mr. Ota Jisaburo and Mr. Hirano Sutejiro)
Sarira (Container for Buddhist relics), Excavated from former Mishima Temple site at Oda, Ibaraki-shi, Osaka, Nara period, 8th century (Important Cultural Property, Gift of Mr. Ota Jisaburo and Mr. Hirano Sutejiro)

Room 2  June 14, 2016 (Tue) - July 24, 2016 (Sun)

Born in Azai of Omi province, Ryogen (912-985) entered the priesthood and inherited the teachings of the monk En’nin at Enryakuji Temple on Mount Hiei. The temple flourished through Ryogen’s endeavors, which included rebuilding structures on the temple grounds that had been lost to fire, instituting temple regulations, and teaching numerous disciples. For 19 years he administered the Tendai sect of Buddhism from his position of “Tendai Zasu,” and was recognized for his revival of Enryakuji Temple, with records noting that Mount Hiei was covered in halls and pagodas that Ryogen had built. He was awarded with the posthumous name of “Jie” but is also called “Gansan Daishi,” a name referring to the third day of the first month, which is when he passed away. Ryogen is still widely revered today through Buddhist ceremonies (Gansan Daishie) and protective images (Tsuno Daishi) that bear deep connections with him.
The document on display is his will and testament, which he wrote after falling ill on the third day of the firth month in 972. Consisting of 19 pages with his signatures on the back, near the edge and on the seams, it provides instructions for his funeral and the management of his living quarters, lands, sacred texts, and ritual implements.
In diaries from the late Muromachi period (1392-1573) such as the Sanetaka koki and Gonara tenno nikki, this testament is mentioned as having been kept at Rozanji Temple in Kyoto and revered as a writing by Ryogen’s hand. It is also valuable as a historical document, which, like the Nijuroku kajo kisho at Rozanji Temple, sheds light on the management of Enryakuji Temple.

Buddhist Art: Heian - Muromachi period
Room 3  June 21, 2016 (Tue) - August 7, 2016 (Sun)

Buddhist art is one of the major genres that define Japanese art. Many masterworks date from the late Heian period, a time characterized as classical in Japanese art history. After the Kamakura period, Buddhist art further developed in its materials, methods, and styles as Zen schools and other new Buddhist schools emerged, together with the influence from the Chinese arts. This exhibit features artworks from the Heian to Kamakura periods, when Buddhist art most flourished, adding siginificant objects from the Nanbokucho and Muromachi periods.

Current exhibit includes:
Seated Amida Nyorai (Amitabha), Kamakura period, 12th-13th century (Lent by Ganshoji, Shizuoka)
Mandala of the Pure Land,
Nanbokucho period, 14th century (Lent by the OKURA MUSEUM OF ART, Tokyo)
Amida Nyorai (Amitabha),
Kamakura period, 14th century (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Iwaki city, Fukushima)
Plaque with Hairline Engraving of Zao Gongen,
Excavated from Kinpusen, Tenkawa-mura, Yoshino-gun, Nara, Heian period, dated 1001 (National Treasure, Lent by Nishiarai daishi Soujiji, Tokyo)
Illustrated Scroll of Teachings Essential for Rebirth in the Pure Land, Vol. 3,
Muromachi period, 15th century (Private collection)
List of Ritual Objects for Esoteric Buddhism Brought from China by Priest Saicho,
By Saicho (767-822), Heian period, dated 811 (National Treasure, Lent by Enryakuji, Shiga)
Documents Relating to Ordination of Priest Denkyo Daishi,
Heian period, 9th century (National Treasure, Lent by Raigoin, Kyoto)

Courtly Art: Heian - Muromachi period
Room 3  June 21, 2016 (Tue) - August 7, 2016 (Sun)

The courtiers were strongly involved in the arts through the Heian and Muromachi periods, their aesthetic tastes playing a great role in Japanese art history. Literature works such as waka poems and other calligraphy written by courtiers, and e-maki narrative picture scrolls are displayed in this room with decorative art objects.

Current exhibit includes:
Story of Mice, Artist unkown, Edo period, 18th century
Album of Exemplary Calligraphy on Tanzaku Paper, Kamakura - Edo period, 14th - 18th century
Mirror, Pine, wisteria, and pair of cranes design
, Kamakura period, 13th century (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Inashimo Jinja, Shizuoka)

Zen and Ink Painting: Kamakura - Muromachi period
Room 3  June 21, 2016 (Tue) - August 7, 2016 (Sun)

This gallery features works by famous artists of the landscape-painting genre, along with famous works of bokuseki (calligraphy by Zen priests).

Current exhibit includes:
Verse of Praise Written on the Anniversary of Nan'in Kokushi's Death, By Seisetsu Shocho, Nanbokucho period, dated 1337
Chinese Poet Li Bai Viewing a Waterfall, Inscription by Isho Tokugan, Muromachi period, 15th century (Important Cultural Property, Private collection)


The Art of Tea Ceremony
Room 4  June 7, 2016 (Tue) - September 11, 2016 (Sun)

This gallery highlights the way of tea through its various art works such as paintings and calligraphy, vases, vessels for kaiseki meals, kettles, tea caddies, and tea bowls.

Current exhibit includes:
Water Jar with Straight Lip, Known as “Shiba no Iori”, Shigaraki ware, Hitoeguchi type, Azuchi-Momoyama period, 16th century, Important Cultural Property (Gift of Mr. Hirota Matsushige)
Tea Caddy, Bunrin ("apple") type; known as "Uji",
Southern Song-Yuan dynasty, 13th century (Gift of Mr. Matsunaga Yasuzaemon)
Segment of Nyoi ho shu Poetry Anthology,
Attributed to Prince Munetaka, Heian period, 11th century
Tea Bowl, Horimishima type; known as "Kimura",
Joseon dynasty, 16th-17th century (Gift of Mr. Hirota Matsushige)

Attire of the Military Elite: Heian - Edo period
Room 5 & 6  June 14, 2016 (Tue) - September 4, 2016 (Sun)

Beginning with the sword which is the most important possession of a samurai, this gallery focuses on arms and armor, saddlery, attire of the warriors as well as their portraits and hand-writings.

Current exhibit includes:
Yoroi Type Armor, With white lacing, Kamakura period, 14th century (National Treasure, Lent by Hinomisaki Jinja, Shimane)
Tanto Sword, By Yukimitsu, Kamakura period, 14th century (National Treasure, On exhibit from June 21, 2016)
Aikuchi Style Sword Mounting (For tanto sword by Yukimitsu), Auspicious cloud design in maki-e lacquer, Edo period, 19th century (On exhibit from June 21, 2016)


Room 7  May 17, 2016 (Tue) - July 10, 2016 (Sun)

In celebration of the 150th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Italy, we are displaying for the first time ever the portrait of Ito Mancio, a member of the Tensho Embassy to Europe-the first "bridge" between Japan and Italy. In March 2014, a newly-discovered portrait of Mancio by the painter Domenico Tintoretto was unveiled by the Trivulzio Foundation of Milan. This portrait was a discovery of great historical significance, providing evidence that the embassy had been officially welcomed in Venice and that Tintoretto has indeed created oil portraits, the existence of which had been known only through historical documents.
In addition to the portrait of Mancio, this Special Viewing features Concerning the Voyage of Four Young Japanese Men to Rome (Important Cultural Property), a book published in Italy to report the doings of the Tensho Embassy.

Current exhibit includes:
Portrait of Ito Mancio, By Domenico Tintoretto, Dated 1585 (Fondazione Trivulzio - Milano)
Relatione del viaggio, et arrivo in Evropa, et Roma, de' prencipi giapponesi (“Concerning the Voyage of Four Young Japanese Men to Rome”),
Published in Reggio, Italy, Dated 1585 (Important Cultural Property)
Three Saints,
Formerly owned by Nagasaki Magistrate Office, Europe, 16th-17th century (Important Cultural Property)
Three Saints (Copy),
Formerly owned by Nagasaki Magistrate Office, Azuchi-Momoyama - Edo period, 16th-17th century (Important Cultural Property)
Madonna (Madonna of the Thumb),
Formerly owned by Nagasaki Magistrate Office, Italy, late 17th century (Important Cultural Property)

The Arts of Daily Life: Azuchi-Momoyama - Edo period
Room 8  May 10, 2016 (Tue) - July 31, 2016 (Sun)

The maturing of Japanese culture supported by the military and commoner classes continued throughout the Azuchi-Momoyama and Edo periods. This gallery introduces the craft of interior furnishings and daily utensils that adorned the life of the people during these periods.

Current exhibit includes:
Writing Box, Gabions and plovers design in maki-e lacquer, Edo period, 18th century (Gift of Mr. Hirota Matsushige)
Kosode (Garment with small wrist openings), Peony, wisteria, chrysanthemum bouquet, and fret pattern design on white figured satin ground,
Passed down by the Shimazu clan, Edo period, 18th century
Hitoe (Summer garment), Wisteria, hollyhock, and carriage wheel design on red silk crepe ground,
Edo period, 19th century
Pipe, Sword beanpod shape,
Edo period, 19th century (Gift of Mr. Yamanaka Emu)
Large Dish, Oak tree and pair of birds design in overglaze enamel,
Nabeshima ware, Edo period, 17th century (Gift of Mr. Hirota Matsushige)
Tiered Box with Handle, Dragon and wave design in underglaze blue,
By Aoki Mokubei, Edo period, 19th century (Important Cultural Property, Gift of Mr. Kasagi Toru)

Developments in Painting and Calligraphy: Azuchi-Momoyama - Edo period
Room 8  June 21, 2016 (Tue) - August 7, 2016 (Sun)

This gallery introduces the dynamic and multi-faceted world of paintings and calligraphy from the Azuchi-Momoyama to the Edo period.

Current exhibit includes:
Old Temple amid Mountains and Pines, By Tanomura Chikuden, Edo period, ca. 1832 (Important Cultural Property)
Collection of Letters by Painters, Vol. 1, By Yosa Buson and others, Edo period, 18th-19th century,

Masks and Costumes of Kyogen Theater
Room 9  June 21, 2016 (Tue) - August 7, 2016 (Sun)

In the Muromachi period (1392-1573), jokes and humorous words or actions were called “kyogen.” The Japanese theater named after this word is based on everyday life in the Muromachi period. Appropriate for these plays, Kyogen masks also have funny and cheerful qualities. Kyogen costumes also boldly express the cheerful atmosphere of this theater. The backs of the suo and kataginu garments that actors portraying provincial feudal lords and their servants wear, for example, are boldly filled with designs of annual events and ceremonies, seasonal flowers and vegetables, or everyday tools and even toys – all reflective of the approachable nature of these characters.
We invite visitors to look for notes of humor in these masks and costumes while imagining the lively interactions of the actors who wore them.

Current exhibit includes:
Kyogen Mask, Noborihige type, By Dohaku, Edo period, 18th century
Kake Suo (Noh costume), Plum blossom design on parti-colored ground,
Edo period, 19th century (Lent by the Agency for Cultural Affairs)

Ukiyo-e and Fashion in the Edo Period: Ukiyo-e
Room 10  June 7, 2016 (Tue) - July 10, 2016 (Sun)

The genre called ukiyo-e takes the common people of the Edo period (1603-1868) as its subject. In the early Edo period, ukiyo-e consisted only of hand-painted works. Later, mass production of ukiyo-e was made possible through woodblock printing. Improvements in woodblock carving and printing then led to the creation of brilliant multi-colored nishiki-e prints. This exhibition will begin with early monochrome prints by the artist Hishikawa Moronobu, entitled Scenes at Yoshiwara Pleasure Quarters, followed by multicolored prints by other famous artists such as Suzuki Harunobu, Torii Kiyonaga, and Katsushika Hokusai. Works connected with the early summer, such as ones depicting irises, hydrangea, or rain showers, are also included to show the great variety found in ukiyo-e.

Current exhibit includes:
Mitate (Parody) of Ono no Tofu (Famous calligrapher of the Heian period), By Suzuki Harunobu, Edo period, 18th century
Beauties and Moored Boat,
By Suzuki Harunobu, Edo period, 18th centur, (Important Art Object)
Horses in Pasture,
By Katsushika Hokusai, Edo period, 19th century (Important Art Object)
Sheltering from Rain under Tree,
By Kitagawa Utamaro, Edo period, 19th century

Ukiyo-e and Fashion in the Edo Period: Fashion
Room 10  June 21, 2016 (Tue) - August 7, 2016 (Sun)

Introduces the fashion of the Edo period townspeople. Enjoy comparing with the ukiyo-e works exhibited in the same room.

Current exhibit includes:
Katabira (Unlined summer garment), Fan, snowflake, cosmetic box, and autumn grasses design on reddish-black ramie ground, Edo period, 17th century
Katabira (Unlined summer garment), Design of leaf- or fan-shaped birds and ivy on light yellow ramie ground, Edo period, 18th century
Katabira (Unlined summer garment), Autumn grasses, symbol for Genji incense game, and butterfly design on parti-colored white and red ramie ground, Edo period, 19th century

2nd floor

Netsuke: The Prince Takamado Collection
The Prince Takamado Collection Room  April 19, 2016 (Tue) - July 31, 2016 (Sun)

Daruma, Hosen Miyazawa, 1998
By Kenji Abe, 1986
Angel's Tears, (ojime) Cheese,
By Kozan Fukuyama, 2001
Winter Sparrow,
By Shizuka Kimura, 1998
Belling the Cat,
By Susan Wraight, 2001

Room T2  July 5, 2016 (Tue) - August 28, 2016 (Sun)

When people working at museums study artworks, they look at them in many different ways, turning them upside down and looking inside them. By doing this, they can unlock the secrets of these artworks, finding out how they were made and what they were used for. We can discover a lot about art by looking in these hidden places, so let’s get started!

Current exhibit includes:
Haniwa male figure, Excavated at Tsukahara, Shimoyokoba, Tsukuba-shi, Ibaraki, Late Kofun period, 6th century
Seated Buddha, Painted red inside,
Asuka period, 7th century (Important Cultural Property)
Mystic Mirror, With letters that come out under the light,
Edo period, 18th century
Okita of Naniwaya, A popular star from Edo,
By Kitagawa Utamaro, Edo period, 18th century
Engishiki (Rules and regulations concerning ceremonies and other events), Vol. 26, Written on the back of used paper,
Heian period, 11th century (National Treasure)
Sixteen Arhats: Thirteenth Arhat, Painting of a priest who was one of the great pupils of the Buddha,
Heian period, 11th century (National Treasure)

1st floor Special Exhibition

Room T5  June 21, 2016 (Tue) - July 10, 2016 (Sun)

Sculptures of pensive Bodhisattvas originated in India, the birthplace of Buddhism, and were later transmitted to China, Korea, and finally to Japan. Many sculptures of this type were created in Japan and Korea from the 6th to 8th centuries, including ones that are now considered masterpieces of ancient Buddhist sculpture. Counted among these is a National Treasure preserved at Chuguji Temple in Nara prefecture. Its face, embellished with a gentle smile, is recognizable to nearly everyone in Japan. Another such masterpiece is in the collection of the National Museum of Korea. Made from bronze, it is widely known in Korea as “National Treasure No. 78.” This exhibition is a truly unique opportunity to savor the beauty of Buddhist sculpture from both Japan and Korea.

1st floor

Japanese Sculpture
Room 11  May 10, 2016 (Tue) - July 24, 2016 (Sun)

This gallery introduces the history of sculptural art in Japan through prototypical wood-sculptures featuring examples dating from the Heian and Kamakura periods, the zenith of Japanese sculpture.

Current exhibit includes:
Standing Bosatsu (Bodhisattva), Kamakura period, 13th century (Important Cultural Property)
Standing Juichimen Kannon Bosatsu (Ekadasamukha), Heian period, 9th century
Seated Dainichi Nyorai (Mahavairocana), Heian-Kamakura period, 12th century (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Kotokuji, Tochigi)
Standing Senju Kannon Bosatsu (Sahasrabhuja)No. 40, By Tankei, Kamakura period, dated 1251-56 (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Myoho'in (From the Main Hall of Rengeo'in), Kyoto)

Room 12  April 26, 2016 (Tue) - July 18, 2016 (Mon)

Features maki-e works from Heian to Edo period. The exhibit shows the history and beauty of maki-e, a unique lacquerwork method that developed in Japan.

Current exhibition includes:
Tebako (Cosmetic box), Wheels-in-stream design in maki-e lacquer and mother-of-pearl inlay, Heian period, 12th century (National Treasure)
Writing Box, Design based on poem with the word "shinobu" (hare's foot fern) in maki-e lacquer,
Attributed to Hon'ami Koetsu (1558-1637), Edo period, 17th century (Important Art Object, Gift of Mr. Yamamoto Tatsuro)
Sake Flask, Paulownia, bamboo, and phoenix design in maki-e lacquer,
Heian period, 12th century (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Tamukeyama Hachimangu, Nara)
Tebako (Cosmetic box), Suminoe seascape design in maki-e lacquer,
Kamakura period, dated 1228 (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Rin'noji, Tochigi)
Raiban (Abbot's seat), Gentian flower roundel design in maki-e lacquer,
Kamakura period, 13th century (Important Cultural Property)

Japanese Mirrors
Room 13  April 19, 2016 (Tue) - July 10, 2016 (Sun)

From the Yayoi to the Nara period (ca. 5th century BC–794 AD), bronze mirrors from continental Asia, including China and the Korean peninsula, were brought to Japan and reproduced locally. From the subsequent Heian period (794–1192) all the way to the Edo period (1603–1868), mirrors with uniquely Japanese patterns and shapes were created. These are collectively known as wa kagami (lit. Japanese mirrors). This exhibition begins with reproductions of Chinese mirrors from the Nara period, followed by Japanese mirrors, which underwent a long period of change and development. Visitors will be able to see transitions in style and the various patterns that appeared throughout the ages.

Current exhibit includes:
Eight-pointed Mirror, Auspicious flower and pair of phoenixes design, Heian period, 11th-12th century (Important Cultural Property)
Mirror, Paulownia and bamboo design, By Ao Ietsugu, Azuchi-Momoyama period, dated 1588
Square Mirror, Auspicious flower and mythical Chinese beast design, Excavated from Yamadasakuratani-cho, Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Nara period, 8th century (Gift of Mr. Araki Otojiro)

Japanese Swords
Room 13  May 31, 2016 (Tue) - August 21, 2016 (Sun)

Exhibits selected swords and sword-fittings from the Heian to Edo periods, including the Tanto Sword, By Kunitoshi.

Current exhibit includes:
Tanto Sword, By Kunitoshi, Kamakura period, deted 1316 (National Treasure, Lent by Atsuta Jingu, Aichi)
Tachi SwordKnown as “Koryu Kagemitsu”, By Kagemitsu, Kamakura period, dated 1322 (National Treasure)
Katana Sword, By Katsumitsu and Harumitsu, Muromachi period, 16th century (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Nogi Jinja, Tokyo)

Room 13  April 19, 2016 (Tue) - July 10, 2016 (Sun)

From Japan's first glazed ceramics of the Nara period to the various wares of the late Edo period, the exhibits will introduce the history of Japanese ceramics through masterworks according to time period and production sites.

Current exhibit includes:
Water JarFishing net design, Mino ware, Shino type, Azuchi-Momoyama - Edo period, 16th-17th century (Private collection)
Hexagonal Dish, Jurojin (one of the Seven Gods of Good Fortune) design in underglaze iron pigment,
By Ogata Korin, Edo period, 18th century (Important Cultural Property, Lent by the OKURA MUSEUM OF ART, Tokyo)
Bowl with Arched Handle, Cherry blossom design in overglaze enamel and openwork,
Kyoto ware, Edo period, 18th century
Bowl, Red dot, cloud, and dragon design in overglaze enamel,
Imari ware, Kakiemon type, Edo period, 17th century
Large Dish, Bird and flower design in underglaze blue,
Imari ware, Edo period, 17th century (Private collection)

Room 14  June 7, 2016 (Tue) - July 31, 2016 (Sun)

Ivory carving for interior ornaments, or okimono, developed from the tradition of meticulous ivory carving for netsuke that flourished in particular around the mid-19th century, at the end of the Edo period. These ivory carved netsuke and ornaments became popular among Westerners who visited Japan from overseas, and as early as the beginning of the Meiji period, ivory okimono became favorites of exported Japanese decorative art.
Many of the okimono made in the Meiji era were exported to the West and few works remain in Japan. However, the Tokyo National Museum collection includes a number of outstanding works displayed at international expositions at the time. This exhibit features these works and presents the tradition and evolution that has continued on from the Edo period since the 17th century until today.

Current exhibit includes:
Netsuke, Mask maker design, Edo period, 19th century (Gift of Mr. Go Seinosuke)
Netsuke, Lady Tokiwa design,
Edo period, 19th century (Gift of Mr. Go Seinosuke)
Netsuke, Oharame (female vendors from Ohara known to carry merchandise on their heads) design,
Meiji era, 19th century (Gift of Mr. Go Seinosuke)
Netsuke, Design of scene from Noh play Takasago,
Meiji era, 19th century (Gift of Mr. Go Seinosuke)
Fujiwara no Kamatari,
By Shimamura Shunmei, Dated 1892 (Gift of Japan Delegate Office for World's Columbian Exposition, Chicag)
Taisho era, 20th century (The family of Prince Takamado)
Grass Pillow,
By Miyazawa Ryoshu III, 1991 (The Prince Takamado Collection)

Records of History
Room 15  June 21, 2016 (Tue) - August 21, 2016 (Sun)

Tokyo National Museum includes a large collection of historical objects and documents. This collection began with objects previously owned by the Edo shogunate government. From the museum's establishment in 1872 (Meiji 5) onward, the collection grew through the holding of exhibitions as well as surveys of cultural properties.
This exhibition displays various historical records and objects. These include maps from the Edo period (1603–1868) and Meiji era (1868–1912), in addition to illustrated albums relating to academic fields and industry. Selected pieces from the TNM’s extensive collection of photographs dating back to the end of the Edo period, which show the individuals, landscapes, expositions, and cultural properties of those times, are also exhibited.

Current exhibit includes:
Catalogue of Ancient Objects, Edited by Historical Division, Tokyo Imperial Household Museum, Meiji era, 19th-20th century
Surveyed and Illustrated Map of Tokaido Highway, Hirakata, Moriguchi, and Osaka,
Edo period, dated 1806 (Important Cultural Property)

The Prayers of the Ainu People
Room 16  April 12, 2016 (Tue) - July 10, 2016 (Sun)

The Ainu people believed that everything in their rich natural environment, from the vast plateaus of their native northern landscapes to the infinite expanse of the ocean, possessed a soul. Things which were essential to human life and beyond human capability were regarded as deities and worshipped. The Ainu believed that a stable lifestyle would be impossible without the provision and protection of the gods. They prayed for a life of continued peace, and held rituals to verbally express their gratitude toward the gods for heeding their prayers.
This exhibition features ritual items used by the Ainu people, including crowns and necklaces, as well as implements such as inau, iku-pasui, and wooden figurines. There are also various implements that were used in the ceremonial sacrifices of bears. Together with paintings of Ainu, these objects give us insight into how the Ainu people prayed to their gods.

Current exhibit includes:
Shitoki (Necklace), Hokkaido Ainu, 19th century
Sword Mounting,
Hokkaido Ainu, 19th century
Hokkaido Ainu, 19th century (Transferred from the Bureau for the Vienna World Exposition, On exhibit through May 22, 2016)
Hokkaido Ainu, 19th century (Gift of Ms. Hirako Hatsu, On exhibit from May 24, 2016)
Ikupasui (Conveyer of wine and prayers to gods),
Hokkaido Ainu, 19th century (Transferred from the Bureau for the Vienna World Exposition)
Cup Stand,
Hokkaido Ainu, 19th century (Gift of Mr. Tokugawa Yorisada, On exhibit from May 24, 2016)
"Sending off the Bear's Spirit" Ceremony,
By Hirasawa Byozan, Dated 1871 (Private collection, On exhibit through May 22, 2016)
Trade Ceremony between Ainu and Japanese,
By Hirasawa Byozan, Dated 1871 (Private collection, On exhibit from May 24, 2016)

Conservation and Restoration
Room 17  April 15, 2014 (Tue) - April 9, 2017 (Sun)

>> detailed information
The preservation and conservation of cultural properties are essential aspects of our Museum's mission. From this point of view, this room features object research and examination, environmental maintenance of storage and exhibition rooms, and conservation procedures applied in accordance to materials and conditions of the objects.


Modern Art
Room 18  June 21, 2016 (Tue) - July 31, 2016 (Sun)

This gallery features paintings and sculptures from the Meiji to Taisho period. Since it first opened in 1872 as the exposition venue of the Ministry of Education, Tokyo National Museum has collected important artworks that signify the development of modern Japanese art. The exhibit consists of selected works from the collection.

Current exhibit includes:
Mount Fuji Rising above Clouds, By Yokoyama Taikan, Ca. 1913
Landscape (Shinobazu Pond),
By Antonio Fontanesi, Dated 1876-78
By Goto Sadayuki, Dated 1893
By Suzuki Chokichi, Dated 1892 (Important Cultural Property, Gift of Japan Delegate Office for World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago)
Large Vase, White porcelain with butterfly and peony design in relief, B
y Seifu Yohei lll, Dated 1892 (Gift of Japan Delegate Office for World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago)

Education Center: Education Space
Room 19  April 15, 2014 (Tue) - April 9, 2017 (Sun)

Designing at TNM
Exploring The TNM Collection
Making at TNM
Searching for National Treasures at TNM
Touching TNM

Room 19  March 15, 2016 (Tue) - September 11, 2016 (Sun)

This display introduces a traditional decorative technique known as “kirikane” (literally, “cut gold”), where finely cut gold leaf is affixed to a surface with an adhesive known as nikawa to produce detailed designs. In Japan, the kirikane technique was often used in Buddhist paintings from the Heian and Kamakura periods. As the gold leaf reflects light, it lends the paintings a brilliant effect. Here, we introduce the technique of kirikane based on the example of the Kujaku Myo’o, a Buddhist painting in the Tokyo National Museum collection. This painting is a designated National Treasure which depicts the Buddhist divinity known in Japanese as “Kujaku Myo’o” (literally, “Peacock Deva”), and in Sanskrit as “Mahamayuri.”