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Frequently asked questions about the Tokyo National Museum

 

FAQ Basics

Q   What kind of an institution is the Tokyo National Museum?
A   The Tokyo National Museum (TNM) began in 1872 (Meiji 5) with an exposition held at the Yushima Seido Confucian shrine in Tokyo. We focus on treasured art objects, historical documents, and archaeological objects of Japan as well as East Asia and other parts of Asia with professional care. We constantly strive to make your visit as enjoyable as possible by committing ourselves to our work, which are: researching and studying current and new collection pieces; exhibiting them in an easily accessible manner; further improving your stay by offering lectures and gallery talks (mostly in Japanese).

 

Q   What kind of exhibitions can I view?
A   The Tokyo National Museum has two exhibition categories; one is regular exhibitions and the other is special exhibitions. The regular exhibitions consist of our own collection and works that have been trustfully on deposit. The objects on display are exchanged depending on the material and condition. Amongst all the exhibits, especially painting, calligraphy, textile and lacquerware are sensitive to the extent that they have to be exchanged every 4 to 8 weeks.
Special exhibitions are large-scale exhibitions with fixed themes, which are held about 5 times a year. Depending on the theme, we gather exhibits from all over Japan, and from all over the world at the Tokyo National Museum. There are 6 exhibition buildings altogether. The Honkan (main building) houses Japanese art. The Toyokan exhibits Oriental art. There are special exhibition galleries on the second floor and the Japanese archaeological gallery on the first floor of Heiseikan. The Gallery of Horyuji Treasures exhibits the treasures originally owned by the Horyu-ji temple, Nara, then donated to the Imperial Family in 1878.
Please visit the Exhibitions page for news about special exhibitions and detailed information on regular exhibitions.

 

Q   What kind of objects, and how many of them are in the collection?
A   The Tokyo National Museum Collection comprises art and archaeological objects of Asia, focusing on Japan. The total amount is more than 110,000 objects. There are 87 national treasures and 633 important cultural properties (as of March, 2014) amongst them.  Please visit the Exhibitions page for more information.

 

FAQ Visit

Q   Where is the Tokyo National Museum? How do I get there?
A   The Tokyo National Museum is located in the culture rich Ueno Park, within easy walking distance of the following JR and Tokyo Metro stations:
JR Ueno
JR Uguisudani
Tokyo Metro Ginza and Hibiya Line Ueno
Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line Nezu
Keisei Railways Ueno
Please visit the Access page for routes to the Museum.

Q   What are the opening hours?
A   Tuesday to Sunday 9:30 to 17:00
Monday closed (except for dates listed below)
Fridays during Special Exhibitions from March 28 to December, 2014 9:30 to 20:00.
Saturdays, Sundays and National Holidays from March 29 to December 7, 2014 9:30 to 18:00.
Last entry is 30 minutes before closing time

If the Monday should be a national holiday, the following day will be closed instead.

*Please note that, due to the circumstances, days, hours, and galleries to be opened is subject to change without notice.

Exceptional dates for 2014 is as follows:
* Open on Monday, April 28 - Tuesday, May 6.
* Closed on Tuesday, June 3 for annual facility maintenance.
* Open on Monday, August 11.
* Closed on Wednesday, December 24, 2014 - Friday, January 1, 2015

Q   How much is the entry fee?
A   Admission to the regular exhibition is as listed below:
Adults 620 (520) yen
University Students 410 (310) yen
Admission in brackets ( ) are valid for individuals belonging to a group of more than 20 visitors.
Group rates for regular exhibitions also accompanying children (High school students and younger, up to two persons per child).

Fees for special exhibitions are indicated in the page of each exhibition. Please refer to the Special Exhibiton page.

Q   Does the Museum have wheelchair facilities?
A   Parking spaces are provided for visitors with disabilities (reservation recommended). The galleries have slopes, elevators, and accessible restrooms. We regret that the second floor of the historic building Hyokeikan presently does not accommodate facilities for disabled visitors.
Wheelchairs are available free of charge, please refer to the Museum staff for further information. Please refer to the Accessibility Information page for more information.

Q   How does a group plan its visit?
A   There is a special price for a group of more than 20 visitors. Please contact the Administration department for details about group viewing.
For teachers planning a school excursion, a prior visit for planning purposes and the ticket on the excursion day is free of charge.
For all mentioned departments please call the Museum main number 03 3822 1111.

Q   Is there any recommended course for gallery visit?
A   “I’m in short of time.” “My favorite is Buddhism sculptures.” – We are introducing several courses to fulfill your needs. Recommended courses will be added more for various themes and purposes.

Q   Approximately how long does it take to look around TNM?
A   You may need an hour at least. If you would like to take time looking carefully, a whole day may not be enough. You may need to plan your visit most suitable for your purposes, hours to spend and physical strength to walk.
If it is your first visit in short of time, the most recommended course takes minimum 30 minutes in Honkan 2nd floor, chronological exhibit of Japanese art history.

Q   Can I re-enter the Tokyo National Museum? Can I re-enter special exhibitions?
A   Once you leave the museum premises (via the Main Gate), re-entry is not permitted. As long as you remain on the museum premises, re-entry is permitted for special exhibitions, but only on the day of your visit. For re-entry, please show your ticket stub at the entrance to the exhibition.

Q   Do you offer membership programs and passes?
A   The Friends of the Tokyo National Museum as well as the Tokyo National Museum Passport program welcomes you to an even more enjoyable museum visit. Both programs are based on an annual membership. The programs enable you to visit the regular exhibitions as often as you wish, free of charge, and offers additional benefits for special exhibitions and many more events.
Annual Membership Fee for Friends of the Tokyo National Museum: 10,000 Yen

Annual Membership Fee for Tokyo National Museum Passport:
Adult 4000 Yen
Student 2500 Yen
Valid for one year from the date of issue
Please refer to the Friends of the TNM and Museum Passport page.

Q   When is the regular exhibition free of charge?
A   For high / junior high / elementary school students and parsons under 18 and over 70, the regular exhibition is free of charge. Please bring your ID along (with birth date).
The regular exhibition is admission free to every visitor on the International Museum Day (May 18) and the Respect-for-the-Aged-Day (the third Monday of September: September 15 for 2014).
Visitors with disabilities and one accompanying person can both enter all galleries including special exhibitions free of charge. Please bring some form of disability ID with you.

 

FAQ Facilities

Q   Is there a restaurant?
A  
The Tokyo National Museum has 2 restaurants: The Hotel Okura Yurinoki on the ground floor of the Toyokan and The Hotel Okura Garden Terrace on the ground floor of The Gallery of Horyuji Treasures. There are vending machines selling drinks and ice cream in the Heiseikan lounge (1st floor), Honkan basement and outdoors. If you have brought your own beverage and food, you can use the Heiseikan lounge (1st floor) or the drink corner of Honkan (basement), or enjoy a picnic on the outdoor benches within the Museum compound.

Q   Can I take photographs in the galleries (camera, digital camera, video camera, etc.)?
A   In the regular exhibition galleries, with the exception of objects indicated by the No photography sign, taking pictures is allowed for personal use, without tripods, monopods and flash. Please regard the general courtesy towards other visitors and don’t disturb their viewing in case you do take pictures. The pictures taken in any gallery of the Tokyo National Museum should only be for your personal use, and must not be duplicated, distributed, nor used in any other way for commercial purposes.
No photographs can be taken in the special exhibition galleries.
If you are unsure about taking photographs, please ask our staff on sight.
No photography sign
No photography sign

Q   Can I use a baby carriage in the galleries?
A   You can use baby carriages on the museum grounds, including in the buildings and exhibition rooms. However, if galleries are crowded, members of museum staff may ask you not to use baby carriages out of consideration for children's safety.
The information desk in the Honkan has baby carriages available for use (numbers are limited). Please ask at this information desk if you require one.

Q   Is there a nursing room?
A   You can use an aid station in Main Gate Plaza, Honkan, Toyokan and Heiseikan.

Q   Is there a place for diaper change?
A   There are diaper changing places in toilets of Main Gate Plaza, Honkan, Toyokan, Heiseikan and Gallery of Horyuji Treasures.

Q   I’m taking non-Japanese visitors. Is there any brochure in foreign languages?
A   We have prepared brochures of general guidance and museum map written in English, Chinese, Korean, French, German and Spanish.
Floor guides and a part of exhibition panels are in English, Chinese and Korean. All data of exhibited collections are written in Japanese and English.
There are gallery talks by English speaking volunteers. Please check on website or TNM news for schedules and detail information.

Q   Where can I read exhibition catalogues or do some research?
A   In the Research and Information Center within the Museum compound, we have a library where you can research and read exhibition catalogues.
Please refer to the Research and Information Center page for more information.

 

FAQ Exhibitions

Q   How do I get detailed information about an exhibition?
A    Please visit Exhibitions in the Tokyo National Museum web site.

Q   Are those exhibits real?
A   Most of exhibits are “real”. Some are very famous that you see from school text books. Please enjoy the impact of actual objects in front of you.
Reproduced objects or replica are partly exhibited, which are in some cases created for research purposes to study materials. When those objects become old enough, they sometimes become valuable cultural heritages.

Q   Are exhibits always the same?
A   We have occasional change of exhibits due to conservation purposes. Japanese and Asian works of art sometimes could be fragile caused by their materials and techniques; exhibiting for a long period of time may damage collections.
Japanese art often well depicts nature from four seasons and our curators are choosing art works most suitable for every season.

Q   Why does the gallery seem so dark?
A   Many of the exhibits in the galleries are extremely sensitive to light and heat, such as paper, textile, and wood. The pigments on the pictures and the dye of the fabrics fade out when exposed to light or heat for a long time. For these reasons, the lights in the galleries are fitted with UV and heat filters. In addition, it is indispensable to control the light strength according to the material and condition of each exhibit. At the Tokyo National Museum, we have a guidelines for each material. For example:
100 lux for Japanese paintings
50 lux for woodblock prints (ukiyo-e)
80 lux for watercolors or sketches
The temperature and humidity is controlled simultaneously to maintain the best possible condition for the exhibits. It might not be the most comfortable for people, but we hope you will consider it the best option to keep the treasures in the best possible condition.

Q   Are special exhibitions at the Tokyo National Museum held at other venues as well?
A   Yes, some of the special exhibitions will travel. The schedule for this year is as listed below:
Exhibition Title Schedule at TNM Traveling schedule
Admired from Afar: Masterworks of Japanese Painting from the Cleveland Museum of Art Wednesday, January 15 - Sunday, February 23, 2014 Kyushu National Museum
Tuesday, July 8 - Sunday, August 31, 2014
Treasured Masterpieces from the National Palace Museum, Taipei Tuesday, June 24 - Monday, September 15, 2014 Kyushu National Museum
Tuesday, October 7 - Sunday, November 30, 2014
* Schedules and locations are subject to change, please check before visiting Page Top

 

FAQ Etcetera

Q   Can I link the TNM to my website?
A   Our site is link free to any site on the Internet. You can link the Tokyo National Museum site to your web site without contacting us. Please note that all URLs except our top page (http://www.tnm.jp/) are subject to change without prior notice.

Q   Can I mail order the Museum Shop goods?
A   Yes, the Tokyo National Museum Shop does have a mail order system. E-mail orders are not acceptable. Please fax the Museum Shop for more information (03-3822-0088/ telephone and fax number).

Q   How old is the Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) in the front yard?
A   The huge tulip tree in front of the Honkan building is the symbol of our Museum, about 120 years old. It blossoms beautifully between May and June with yellow tulip flowers.

Q   What exactly is a “National Treasure” or an “Important Cultural Property”?
A   In Japan, superior examples of material objects of art are designated "tangible cultural properties". This comprises architecture, fine art, sculpture, applied art, calligraphy, classical books and ancient manuscripts, archaeological materials, and academically important historical materials. Within these categories, examples considered to be highly valuable from the artistic or academic point of view are recognized for their importance. Important Cultural Properties are designations from these cultural properties. Furthermore, those regarded most valuable on an international level is designated National Treasure. This system was established in 1950 (Showa 25) as the Cultural Properties Protection law. Important Cultural Properties and National Treasures are bound by strict regulations to pass the selection procedures. The procedure is carried out by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, based on reports submitted by the Cultural Affairs Council. The entire process is the responsibility of the Agency for Cultural Affairs.
Important art objects designated as such under the old regulations before the establishment of the Cultural Properties Protection law, are classed as an Important Art Object.

Q   Is there any spot that I could access to wireless LAN network?
A   We have an internet access of Softbank Wi-Fi spot is available at Honkan entrance area and Main gate.