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 >> Honkan


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  July 19, 2017 (Wed) - December 25, 2017 (Mon)

Current exhibit includes:
Dogu (Clay figurine), With heart-shaped face, From Gobara, Higashi Agatsuma-machi, Gunma, Jomon period, 2000–1000 BC (Important Cultural Property, Private collection
Dotaku (bell-shaped bronze), Design of Crossed Bands (San'en Type), From Shikiji, Iwata-shi, Shizuoka, Yayoi period, 1st–3rd century (Gift of Mr. Matsuno Hikotaro et al.)
Haniwa (Terracotta tomb figurine), Man in formal attire, From Yotsuzuka tumulus, Ota-shi, Gunma, Kofun period, 6th century

The Rise of Buddhism: Asuka–Nara period
Room 1  November 14, 2017 (Tue) - December 25, 2017 (Mon)

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:
Seated Nikko Bosatsu (Suryaprabha), Formerly owned by Kinrinji and Kosanji, Kyoto, Nara period, 8th century (Important Cultural Property)
Shibun kaihon Monastic Code of Conduct with Preface, Nara period, dated 768 (Gift of Mr. Hori Tatsu)
One of the “One Million Pagodas”,
Nara period, dated 770 (Gift of Ms. Yamakoshi Yasuko)

Room 2  November 21, 2017 (Tue) - December 25, 2017 (Mon)

These volumes comprise one of the five renowned versions of the Man' yo shu poetry anthology transcribed in classical calligraphy. They were transcribed by more than ten individuals, and the calligraphic style in the first volume is very close to the handwriting in other anthologies, such as Wakan roei shu in butterfly-bound (decchoso) booklets. This version is hence presumed to date back approximately to the latter half of the 11th century. The Genryaku version was divided up in the course of the history of its ownership. The Museum holds six volumes formerly owned by the Takamatsu house of the imperial family and 14 volumes that belonged to the Furukawa family.

Buddhist Art: Heian–Muromachi period
Room 3  November 14, 2017 (Tue) - December 25, 2017 (Mon)

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:
Standing Monju Bosatsu (Manjusri), Kamakura period, dated 1269 (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Chuguji, Nara)
Benzaiten (Sarasvati) and Fifteen Attendants,
Muromachi period, 15th century
Muromachi period, 15th century
Standing Monju Bosatsu (Manjusri),
Kamakura period, dated 1269 (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Chuguji, Nara)
Fragment of Object from Inside a Statue of Monju Bosatsu (Manjusri),
Kamakura period, dated 1269 (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Chuguji, Nara)
Illustrated Biography of Priest Honen, Vol. 19,
Muromachi period, 15th century (Important Cultural Property, Okunoin at Taimadera, Nara)
Miniature Clay Pagodas,
Provenance unknown, Heian period, 12th century (Gift of Mr. Muraoka Isaburo)
Lotus Sutra, Vol. 1, With characters in pagoda shapes,
Passed down at Anrakujuin, Kyoto, Heian period, 12th century (Gift of Mr. Tanaka Shinbi)

Courtly Art: Heian–Muromachi period
Room 3  November 14, 2017 (Tue) - December 25, 2017 (Mon)

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:
Illustrated Scroll of Legends about the Origin of Seikoji Temple, Vol. 1, Muromachi period, 15th century (Important Cultural Property)
Detached Segment of Anthology of Poems Composed by Kiyohara no Fukayabu, Known as “Meika kashu gire”,
Attributed to Ki no Tsurayuki, Heian period, 11th century (Important Art Object, Gift of Mr. Matsunaga Yasuzaemon)
Eight-foiled Mirror, Auspicious flower design with bird-shaped knob,
Heian period, 11th–12th century

Zen and Ink Painting: Kamakura–Muromachi period
Room 3  November 14, 2017 (Tue) - December 25, 2017 (Mon)

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

Room 4  September 20, 2017 (Wed) - December 25, 2017 (Mon)

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:
Flower Vase with Elephant-shapedKnown as "Akizuki”, Muromachi period, 15th–16th century (Gift of Mr. Matsunaga Yasuzaemon)
Tea Caddy, Bunrin ("apple") type, Known as "Uji", China, Southern Song–Yuan dynasty, 13th century (Gift of Mr. Matsunaga Yasuzaemon)
Tea Bowl, Aoido type, Known as "Toki-ido", Korea, Joseon dynasty, 16th century (Gift of Mr. Hirota Matsushige)
Poem, Known as "Sunshoan shikishi", Attributed to Ki no Tsurayuki, Heian period, 11th century (Important Cultural Property, Gift of Mr. Asano Nagatake)

Attire of the Military Elite: Heian–Edo period
Room 5 & 6  November 21, 2017 (Tue) - February 12, 2018 (Mon)

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:
Gusoku, Type Armor, With two-piece cuirass with white lacing, Edo period, 17th century (Gift of Mr. Tokugawa Yoshihiro)
Daisho (Pair of long and short swords), Style Sword Mounting, Gold banding on red-lacquered ground, Azuchi-Momoyama period, 16th century (Important Cultural Property)
Tachi, Sword, By Yoshikane, Heian-Kamakura period, 12th–13th century (Important Cultural Property)
Itomaki no tachi, Style Sword Mounting (For tachi sword by Sadazane), With bamboo grass and gentian crests on nashiji lacquer ground, Edo period, 17th century
Jinbaori (Coat worn over armor), White nerinuki plain weave and sutra text design, Azuchi-Momoyama period, 16th century

Folding Screens and Sliding Door Paintings: Azuchi-Momoyama–Edo period
Room 7  October 31, 2017 (Tue) - December 17, 2017 (Sun)

This gallery is dedicated to the genre of shohei-ga, which includes mural paintings, fusuma paintings and byobu paintings. The room is especially designed for an effective display of grand-scale paintings.

Current exhibit includes:
Waves, By Maruyama Okyo, Edo period, dated 1788 (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Kongoji, Kyoto)
Autumn and Winter Landscapes,
By Maruyama Okyo, Edo period, 18th century

The Arts of Daily Life: Azuchi-Momoyama–Edo period
Room 8  October 24, 2017 (Tue) - January 28, 2018 (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:
Pair of Boxes for Shell Matching Game Pieces, Scenes from the Tale of Genji, Edo period, 17th century
Kaji Shozoku (Suit worn at scene of fire), Wave and carp design on scarlet plain-weave woolen ground (with paired Japanese ginger crests), Edo period, 19th century
Yogi Bedspread, Edo period, 18th century
Water Dropper, Eggplant with Japanese gold beetle design, Edo period, 18th–19th century (Gift of Mr. Watanabe Toyotaro and Mr. Watanabe Masayuki)
Bowl, Wagtail design, Mino ware, Nezumi Shino type, Azuchi-Momoyama–Edo period, 16th–17th century (Important Cultural Property)
Covered Dish, Fan shape, Mino ware, Oribe type, Edo period, 17th century

Developments in Painting and Calligraphy: Azuchi-Momoyama - Edo period
Room 8  October 31, 2017 (Tue) - December 17, 2017 (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:
Flowers and Birds of the Four Seasons, Volume 2, By Sakai Hoitsu, Edo period, dated 1818
Man'yo shu Poem Anthology, By Keichu, Edo period, 17th century
Scroll of Waka Poems,
By Hon'ami Koetsu, Azuchi-Momoyama period, 17th century (Gift of Mr. Kawai Gyokudo)

Noh and Kabuki: Masks and Costumes in the Noh Play Miidera
Room 9  October 17, 2017 (Tue) - December 3, 2017 (Sun)

The Noh play Miidera centers around a woman driven mad with despair in the search for her missing son, who was sold into slavery. Guided by the Buddhist deity Kannon at Kiyomizudera temple, she travels to Miidera temple, where she finds her son, who has become a child disciple, among a group of monks viewing the autumn moon. In the first half of the play, the lead actor wears a karaori garment and a mask signifying his role as a middle-aged woman. In the second half, he wears a costume that represents travel wear. It consists of a mizugoromo and a nuihaku (a garment decorated with gold foil and embroidery), with the latter wrapped around the waist.

Current exhibit includes:
Karaori (Noh costume), Chrysanthemum sprig design on checkered brown ground, Edo period, 18th century
Nuihaku (Noh costume), Autumn grasses and cloud design on white ground, Formerly passed down by the Mori clan, Edo period, 18th century

Ukiyo-e and Fashion in the Edo Period: Ukiyo-e
Room 10  October 31, 2017 (Tue) - November 26, 2017 (Sun)

In the early Edo period (1603–1868), ukiyo-e, which depicted common people, consisted only of paintings. A method of woodblock printing was later devised and mass production of ukiyo-e became possible. Eventually, a method of producing multicolored nishiki-e prints was established following the development of carving and printing techniques. This exhibition features portraits of Kabuki actors by artists such as Katsukawa Shunsho, Toshusai Sharaku, Utagawa Toyokuni, and Utagawa Kunisada, all of whom are acclaimed in this particular genre of ukiyo-e. Also included in the lineup are autumnal works as well as Scenes In and Around Kyoto, from which ukiyo-e is assumed to have originated.

Current exhibit includes:
The Actor Sawamura Sojuro III in the Dressing Room, By Katsukawa Shunsho, Edo period, 18th century
The Actors Nakajima Wadaemon as Bodara Chozaemon and Nakamura Konozo as Gon of the Kanagawaya,
By Toshusai Sharaku, Edo period, dated 1794 (Important Cultural Property)
The Actor Otani Oniji III as Kawashima Jibugoro,
By Toshusai Sharaku, Edo period, dated 1794
Actors on Stage: Akashiya,
By Utagawa Toyokuni, Edo period, 18th century

Ukiyo-e and Fashion in the Edo Period: Fashion
Room 10  October 17, 2017 (Tue) - December 3, 2017 (Sun)

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

Current exhibit includes:
Kosode (Garment with small wrist openings), Young pine, small flower, deer, and maple leaf design on parti-colored figured satin ground, Edo period, 17th century (Important Cultural Property)
Kosode (Garment with small wrist openings), Weeping maple and straw hat design on white figured satin ground, Edo period, 18th century
Inro (Medicine case), Three monkeys design in maki-e lacquer, By Shiomi Masanari, Edo period, 19th century (Gift of Mr. Quincy A. Shaw)

2nd floor

Netsuke: The Prince Takamado Collection
The Prince Takamado Collection Room  October 24, 2017 (Tue) - January 28, 2018 (Sun)

Columbus's Egg, By Kiho Takagi, 1995
Aurora, By Kozan Fukuyama, 1998
Please…, By Ryushi Komada, 1989
Cicada on Tile, By Senpo Kobayashi, 1989
Grazing Horse, By Gregg Stradiotto, 1993

Room T1 & T2  October 24, 2017 (Tue) - December 3, 2017 (Sun)

This exhibition traces works by yamato-e painters of the Muromachi period, and sheds light on their rich modes of expression.

1st floor

Japanese Sculpture
Room 11  October 24, 2017 (Tue) - February 4, 2018 (Sun)

the Heian and Kamakura periods, the zenith of Japanese sculpture.


Current exhibit includes:
Chinese Lion and Dog, Heian period, 12th century (Important Cultural Property)
Seated Male Shinto Deity, Heian period, 11th century, Important Cultural Property, Lent by Daishogunhachi jinja, Kyoto
Standing Senju Kannon Bosatsu (Sahasrabhuja)No. 493, By Injo, Kamakura period, dated 1251–59 (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Myoho'in (From the Main Hall of Rengeo'in), Kyoto)
Standing Senju Kannon Bosatsu (Sahasrabhuja)No. 504, By Ryuen, Kamakura period, dated 1251–66 (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Myoho'in (From the Main Hall of Rengeo'in), Kyoto)
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  September 26, 2017 (Tue) - December 25, 2017 (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), Scattered fan design in maki-e lacquer, Muromachi period, 15th century (Important Cultural Property)
Writing Box, Ivy and brushwood fence design in
maki-e lacquer, By Koma Kyui, Edo period, 17th century (Important Cultural Property)
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), Sumino-e seascape design in maki-e lacquer lacquer, Kamakura period, dated 1228 (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Rin'noji, Tochigi)
Bookshelf, Landscape design in
maki-e lacquer, Edo period, 18th century (Important Art Object, Lent by the OKURA MUSEUM OF ART, Tokyo)
Writing Box, Design based on poem with the word "
shinobu" (hare's foot fern) in maki-e lacquer, Attributed to Hon'ami Koetsu, Edo period, 17th century (Important Art Object, Gift of Mr. Yamamoto Tatsuro)

Room 13  September 20, 2017 (Wed) - December 25, 2017 (Mon)

This exhibition provides a historical overview of Japanese metalwork from the Heian (794–1192) to the Edo (1603–1868) period. Objects are displayed by category, such as Buddhist ritual implements, mirrors, tea kettles, objects with designs in cloisonné, decorative fittings, and okimono ornaments. Visitors are invited to view the beauty of metals such as gold, silver, copper, and iron, as well as the shapes they were crafted into, and the designs they were freely embellished with.

Current exhibit includes:
Container for Buddhist Relics in Shape of Flaming Sacred Jewel, Kamakura period, 13th–14th century (Important Cultural Property)
Articulated Figure, Dragon, By Myochin Mune'aki, Edo period, dated 1713

Japanese Swords
Room 13  October 17, 2017 (Tue) - January 8, 2018 (Mon)

Exhibits selected swords and sword-fittings from the Heian to Edo periods, including the Tachi Sword, Known as "Koryu Kagemitsu", By Kagemitsu.

Current exhibit includes:
Tachi Sword, Known as “Koryu Kagemitsu”, By Kagemitsu, Kamakura period, dated 1322 (National Treasure)
Katana Sword, Known as “Ishida Masamune”, By Masamune, Kamakura period, 14th century (Important Cultural Property)

Room 13  September 5, 2017 (Tue) - November 26, 2017 (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:
Large Jar, Tomoe (comma shapes) design, Suzu ware, Heian period, 12th century (Important Cultural Property, Lent by the Agency for Cultural Affairs)
Hexagonal Dish, Juro (God of longevity) design in underglaze iron pigment, By Ogata Korin and Ogata Kenzan (Shinsei), Edo period, 18th century (Important Cultural Property, Lent by the OKURA MUSEUM OF ART, Tokyo)
Tea Bowl, Design of motifs from "Autumn Excursion" chapter of The Tale of Genji in overglaze enamel, Studio of Ninsei, Edo period, 17th century (Gift of Ms. Yamamoto Tomiko and Mr. Yamamoto Kenji)
Lobed Bowl, Cherry blossom and maple tree design in overglaze enamel, By Nin'nami Dohachi, Edo period, 19th century
Lidded Bowl, Peony design in overglaze enamel, Imari ware, Kakiemon type, Edo period, 17th century

Room 14  August 29, 2017 (Tue) - December 3, 2017 (Sun)

The realistic style of the Buddhist sculptor Unkei (d. 1223), with its powerful, dynamic forms and rich expression of volume, had an undeniable influence on the sculptors of later generations. Unkei’s grandson, Koen (b. 1207), for example, inherited his grandfather’s style and succeeded in making it more approachable, while the sculptors of the Zenpa school, including Zen’en (1197–1258), elaborated on Unkei’s style in the Nara region. This thematic exhibition explores how these sculptors inherited and transformed the style of Unkei in the Kamakura period (1192–1333).

Room 15  October 3, 2017 (Tue) - November 26, 2017 (Sun)

This exhibition features the activities of the museum in its initial stages as an art museum, through records related to the compilation of The Brief History of Art in Imperial Japan.

Ainu and Ryukyu: Life of the Ainu People
Room 16  September 5, 2017 (Tue) - November 26, 2017 (Sun)

The Ainu people, who lived in the harsh environment of Hokkaido and its islands, revered nature and the gods, living their lives in harmony with their natural surroundings. This exhibition features everyday items that shed light on the daily lives of the Ainu. These include hunting and fishing tools that Ainu men used, weaving tools and woven items, such as clothing and bags, used by Ainu women, as well as wooden tableware.

Current exhibit includes:
Beater, Hokkaido Ainu, 19th century (Gift of Mr. Tokugawa Yorisada)
Knife, Hokkaido Ainu, 19th century (Gift of the Hokkaido Project Management Bureau, Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce)
Harpoon, Hokkaido Ainu, 19th century (Gift of the Hokkaido Project Management Bureau, Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce)
Trap, Primorsky Krai, 19th century (Gift of the Geological Society of Amur River, Russia)
Coat, Hokkaido Ainu, 19th century
The Village of Koropokkur, By Touu Oda, Dated 1907

Conservation and Restoration
Room 17  April 15, 2014 (Tue) - April 8, 2018 (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  November 14, 2017 (Tue) - December 25, 2017 (Mon)

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:
Heaven and Hell, By Kawanabe Kyosai, Meiji era, 19th century
Night Scene at the Railway Station,
By Takamura Shinpu, Taisho era, 20th century (Gift of the artist)
By Goto Sadayuki, Dated 1893
By Suzuki Chokichi, Dated 1892 (Important Cultural Property, Gift of Japan Delegate Office for World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago)
Flower Vase, Bamboo design in overglaze enamel,
By Ito Tozan I, Meiji–Taisho era, 20th century (Gift of Mr. Ito Tozan III)

Education Center: Education Space
Room 19  April 15, 2014 (Tue) - April 8, 2018 (Sun)

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

Room 19  April 18, 2017 (Tue) - March 31, 2018 (Sat)

This year’s reproduction project features a garment from Okinawa, made by using the island’s traditional bingata dyeing technique. With a mass of colorful peony flowers, buds, and leaves, all dyed on a white background, the original work is entitled: Bingata Garment with Peony Design on White Cotton. The intricate design structure and vivid colors gave our team ample opportunity to explore this superb dyeing technique that blossomed in the 19th-century Ryukyu Kingdom in Okinawa. What kind of dyeing techniques allow such minutely-detailed flower petals and leaf shapes, and what kind of culture nurtured the colorful style of bingata? This display explores answers to these questions through a combination of research, fieldwork, and hands-on reproduction.