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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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Honkan room 13 will be closed for maintenance work from Tuesday, November 5, 2019 - Monday, March 9, 2020.

2nd floor "Highlights of Japanese Art"

The Dawn of Japanese Art: Jomon, Yayoi and Kofun periods
Room 1  January 2, 2020 (Thu) - June 21, 2020 (Sun)

The roots of Japanese aesthetics can be seen in earthenware from the Jomon and Yayoi periods, as well as in dogu (small earthen figurines from Jomon period), dotaku (bronze bell-shaped ritual item from the Yayoi period), haniwa (terracotta figures from the Kofun period) and bronze mirrors (used as symbols of authority in the Yayoi and Kofun periods).

Current exhibit includes:
Deep Jar with Spout, Found at Kamifukuoka Shell Mound, Saitama, Jōmon period, 4,000–3,000 BC (Important Cultural Property, Private collection)
Tomb Sculpture (Haniwa): Seated Woman, Found in Ōizumi Town, Gunma, Kofun period, 6th century (Important Cultural Property)
Jar, Found in Ōta Ward, Tokyo, Yayoi period, 1st–3rd century (Important Cultural Property, Private collection)

The Arrival of Buddhism | 6th–8th century
Room 1  January 2, 2020 (Thu) - February 2, 2020 (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 6th–8th century.

Current exhibit includes:
Buddha, Collection of Horyuji Treasures, Asuka period, 7th century
Great Perfection of Wisdom Sutra, Vol. 317, Nara period, 8th century (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Yakushiji Temple, Nara)
Ritual Objects Used to Consecrate the Site of Kohfukuji Temple, Strips of Beaten Gold, Excavated from under altar of Main Hall at Kohfukuji, Nara
Ritual Objects Used to Consecrate the Site of Kohfukuji Temple, Eight-Lobed Mirror with Design of Auspicious Flowers and Paired Phoenixes, Excavated from under altar of Main Hall at Kohfukuji, Nara, Tang dynasty, 8th century (National Treasure)
Ritual Objects Used to Consecrate the Site of Kohfukuji TempleLarge Gilt-Bronze Bowl, Excavated from under altar of Main Hall at Kohfukuji, Nara, Nara period, 8th century (National Treasure)

Room 2  January 15, 2020 (Wed) - February 9, 2020 (Sun)

This painting, the oldest surviving one of its kind, sheds light on Zen culture in Japan. The Zen monk Shihaku of Nanzenji Temple in Kyoto built a study for himself around the year 1413. To celebrate this occasion, his friend painted this picture, while prominent monks brushed poems and messages above it. But the building depicted is not the actual study. It is an imaginary mountain retreat that symbolizes the Zen ideal of living in harmony with nature, far from the bustle of the world.

The Arts of Buddhism | 8th–16th century
Room 3  January 2, 2020 (Thu) - February 2, 2020 (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 periods.

Current exhibit includes:
Lent by Jimokuji Temple, Aichi, Heian period, 12th century (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Jimokuji, Aichi)
The Sixteenth Arhat, One of the Sixteen Arhats, Heian period, 11th century (National Treasure)
Gathering of Deities, Kamakura period, 13th century (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Reiunji, Tokyo)
Confucius, Kamakura period, 13th century (Important Cultural Property)
The Blessings of the Wisdom King Fudō, Nanbokucho period,14th century (Important Cultural Property)
Volume 1 of the Lotus Sutra (Called the "Sensōji Temple Sutra"), Heian period, 11th century (National Treasure, Lent by Sensoji, Tokyo)

The Arts of the Imperial Court | 8th–16th century
Room 3  January 2, 2020 (Thu) - February 2, 2020 (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 displayed in this room with decorative art objects.

Current exhibit includes:
Illustrated Scroll of the Warrior Watanabe no Tsuna, Muromachi period, 16th century
Kokin waka shu Poetry Anthology (Gen'ei version), Vol. 2, Heian period, 12th century (National Treasure, Gift of Mr. Mitsui Takahiro)

Zen and Ink Painting | 13th–16th century
Room 3  January 2, 2020 (Thu) - February 2, 2020 (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:
Chinese-style Quatrain in Seven-character Phrases, By Ikkyu Sojun, Muromachi period, 15th century
Landscape with Hawks, By Sesson Shukei, Muromachi period, 16th century (Important Art Object, Gift of Mr. Matsunaga Yasuzaemon)

Tea Ceremony
Room 4  December 3, 2019 (Tue) - February 24, 2020 (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 in the Shape of a Cong Ritual Vessel, Stoneware with celadon glaze, Imperial kilns, ChinaPassed down by the Owari Tokugawa clan, Southern Song dynasty, 12th–13th century (Important Cultural Property, Gift of Mr. Hirota Matsushige)

Arms and Armor of the Samurai | 12th–19th century
Room 5 & 6  November 19, 2019 (Tue) - February 9, 2020 (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:
Armor (Dōmaru) with “Eurasian Jay” Lacing, Red at the Top, Passed down by the Akita clan, lords of Miharu domain, Mutsu province, Muromachi period, 15th century (Important Cultural Property, Gift of Mr. Akita Kazusue)
Mounting for the Long Sword Named "Shishiō", Wooden black-lacquered scabbard, Kamakura period, 13th–14th century (Important Cultural Property)

Paintings on Folding Screens and Sliding Doors | 16th–19th century
Room 7  January 2, 2020 (Thu) - February 9, 2020 (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:
Birds and Flowers of the Twelve Months, By Kanō Eikei, Edo period, 17th century

Decorative Arts | 16th–19th century
Room 8  October 29, 2019 (Tue) - January 26, 2020 (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:
Boxes for the Shell-Matching Game with Scenes from The Tale of Genji, Edo period, 17th century
Robe (
Kosode) with Flowing Water, Plants, Pavilions, and Insect Cages, Edo period, 19th century
Mirror with Paulownia and Bamboo Branches,
By Ao Ietsugu, Azuchi-Momoyama period, 1588
Large Dish with a Snowscape, Nabeshima ware,
Edo period, 18th century
Chrysanthemum-Shaped Bowl with a Tiger, Bamboo, and Plum Tree,
Imari ware, Kakiemon type, Edo period, 17th century (Private collection)
Dishes in the Shape of Papers with
Waka Poems, Kenzan ware, Edo period, 1743

Painting and Calligraphy | 16th–19th century
Room 8  January 2, 2020 (Thu) - February 9, 2020 (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:
Pine Tree, Plum Blossoms, and Crane, By Ito Jakuchu, Edo period, 18th century (Gift of Mrs. Uematsu Kayoko)
Waka Poems, Handscroll with poppy design, By Hon'ami Koetsu, Edo period, dated 1633

Noh and Kabuki: Auspicious Patterns in Designs for the Noh Theater
Room 9  January 2, 2020 (Thu) - February 24, 2020 (Mon)

Noh theater, one of Japan’s traditional performing arts, was presented at Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples as an offering to the gods. In return, people hoped to be blessed with rich harvests, numerous descendants, as well as long and healthy lives. For this reason, props and costumes for Noh were often decorated with auspicious patterns – some Chinese in origin and others uniquely Japanese – that reflected these wishes. We invite visitors to take a closer look at these brilliant patterns that embody the hope for good fortune.

Current exhibit includes:
Noh Costume (Chōken) with Fans, Peonies, and Chrysanthemums, Edo period, 18th century
Noh Costume (Karaori) with Pine-Bark Diamonds and Peonies, Formerly owned by the Uesugi family, Edo period, 18th century
Noh Costume (Maiginu) with Phoenixes and Paulownias, Edo period, 18th century (Lent by Agency for Cultural Affairs)
Noh Costume (Hangire) with Dragon Among Clouds, Blades, and Mountains, Edo period, 19th century (Lent by Agency for Cultural Affairs)

The Art of Fashion | 17th–19th century
Room 10  January 2, 2020 (Thu) - February 24, 2020 (Mon)

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

Current exhibit includes:
Robe (Kosode) with Plants, Cranes, Turtles, and Geometric Patterns, Edo period, 16th century (Important Cultural Property)
Outer Robe (Uchikake) with Pines, Bamboo, Plums, Sandbank-Shaped Tables, and Myriad Treasures, Formely owned by Noguchi Hikobei, Edo period, 19th century
Case (Inrō) with Rats, Edo period, 19th century (Gift of Mr. Quincy A. Shaw)

The Art of Ukiyo-e | 17th–19th century
Room 10  January 21, 2020 (Tue) - February 16, 2020 (Sun)

In the 17th century, painters started depicting the lives of commoners in a genre known as ukiyo-e. With the advent of new printing technology, these images began to be reproduced in high numbers, and ukiyo-e gradually spread to all layers of society. The addition of colorists to the publishers’ craftsmen also led to the birth of the color print in the mid-18th century. From January 21–February 16, 2020, this gallery displays paintings and prints of winter scenery with snow and plum trees, and actors and beautiful women warming themselves below a heated table called a kotatsu.

Current exhibit includes:
Beautiful Woman under a Plum Tree, By Furuyama Moromasa, Edo period, 18th century
The Plum Garden,
By Suzuki Harunobu, Edo period, 18th century
“View from the Top of Tenjin Slope at Yushima” from the Series One Hundred Famous Places of Edo, By Utagawa Hiroshige, Edo period, dated 1856

2nd floor

Netsuke: The Prince Takamado Collection
The Prince Takamado Collection Room  October 29, 2019 (Tue) - January 26, 2020 (Sun)


Cut Piece: Apple, Akira Kuroiwa, 1997
Hagoromo, Isshu Kishi, 1988
Grooming, Kiho Takagi, 1995
Owl, Onosato Zanmai, 2002
Hatching Gecko, Susan Wraight, 1997

Room T1 & T2  January 2, 2020 (Thu) - January 26, 2020 (Sun)

This thematic exhibition presents a selection of artworks from the Museum collection that reveal the many faces of mice.

1st floor

Room 11  September 25, 2019 (Wed) - February 24, 2020 (Mon)

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:
The Rooster General, One of the Twelve Divine Generals, Kamakura period, 13th century (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Murouji Temple, Nara)
The Snake General, One of the Twelve Divine Generals, Kamakura period, 13th century (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Murouji Temple, Nara)
The Dog General, One of the Twelve Divine Generals, Passed down at Jōruriji Temple, Kyoto, Kamakura period, 13th century(Important Cultural Property)
Standing Juni Shinsho (Twelve Heavenly Generals): Bishin (Who protects the direction of the sheep), Passed down at Jōruriji Temple, Kyoto, Kamakura period, 13th century (Important Cultural Property)
The Buddha Amida, the Central Image of a Buddha Triad, Heian period, dated 1176 (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Saikōin Temple, Saitama)
The Buddha Amida, Passed down at Kōmyōin Temple, Hiroshima, Heian-Kamakura period, 12th century (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Taishō University)
The Buddha Shaka, Heian period, 9th century (National Treasure, Lent by Murouji Temple, Nara)
The Eleven-Headed Bodhisattva Kannon, Heian period, 9th–10th century (National Treasure, Lent by Murouji Temple, Nara)

Room 12  January 2, 2020 (Thu) - March 22, 2020 (Sun)

Features maki-e works from 12th century to 19th century. The exhibit shows the history and beauty of maki-e, a unique lacquerwork method that developed in Japan.

Current exhibition includes:
Saddle Tree with Lions, Heian–Kamakura period, 12th–13th century (Important Cultural Property, Gift of Mr. Kanō Jigorō)
Writing Box with a Courtly Carriage, Edo period, 17th century (Important Cultural Property)
Sutra Box with a Lotus Pond, Heian period, 12th century (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Kongōji Temple, Osaka)
Cosmetic Box with Tachibana Orange Trees, Nanbokuchō period, donated in 1390 (National Treasure, Lent by Kumano Hayatama Shrine, Wakayama)
Tiered Stand with Designs Alluding to The Tale of Genji, Attributed to Hon'ami Kōetsu, Edo period, 17th century (Important Cultural Property)

Room 14  January 2, 2020 (Thu) - February 24, 2020 (Mon)

This thematic exhibition is comprised of Noh masks that were purportedly created by these legendary makers. We invite visitors to closely examine these Noh masks created by mysterious, legendary mask makers.

Records of History
Room 15  January 2, 2020 (Thu) - February 24, 2020 (Mon)

The Tokyo National Museum holds many artworks and other materials that shine light on history, with the foundation of this collection consisting of materials inherited from the shogun’s government of the Edo period (1603–1868). From the time of the Museum’s establishment in 1872, this foundation was supplemented with additional materials collected through exhibitions and surveys of cultural properties. This gallery displays albums of natural science, a discipline that thrived in the Edo period, maps created in the Edo period and the following Meiji era, ink rubbings of calligraphy inscribed into stone and metal, and a variety of other historical materials. In addition, photographs from the late 19th and early 20th century, which show the people and scenery of the day, as well as expositions and cultural properties, are also shown periodically.

Current exhibit includes:
Map of Kyūshū, No. 12, By Inō Tadataka, Edo period, 19th century (Important Cultural Property)
Illustrated Map of the Ise RoadMatsuzaka: Obata, Yamada: Gegu, Uji: Naiku Futami Isobe, Formerly owned by Asakusa Bunko, Edo period, dated 1806 (Important Cultural Property)

Ainu and Ryukyu
Room 16  January 2, 2020 (Thu) - April 12, 2020 (Sun)

The islands of Japan stretch from north to south, encompassing diverse natural environments. These environments have been home to numerous cultures over thousands of years. This gallery presents objects from two cultures that were independent from, but interacted with, the rest of Japan: the Ainu people of the north and the Ryukyu Kingdom of the south.
The Ainu are indigenous people who lived mainly on the island of Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost major island. They worshipped and lived close to nature. The current exhibition presents tools the Ainu used for hunting, fishing, and weaving, as well as clothing and other items from daily life.
The Ryukyu Kingdom on the subtropical islands to the south had a culture strongly influenced by trade. This kingdom traded mainly with Japan, China, Korea, and Southeast Asia. Decorative arts from the Ryukyu Kindgom, such as lacquerware and clothing dyed with vibrant patterns, are currently on display.

Current exhibit includes:
Storehouse (Model), Hokkaidō Ainu, 19th century, Transferred from the Bureau for the Vienna World Exposition
Tray, Hokkaidō Ainu, 19th century (Gift of Mr. Tokugawa Yorisada)
Jaw Harps, Hokkaidō Ainu, 19th century, Transferred from the Bureau for the Vienna World Exposition
Ash Rake, Hokkaidō Ainu, 19th century (Gift of the Hokkaido Project Management Bureau, Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce)
Spatula, Hokkaidō Ainu, 19th century (Gift of Mr. Tokugawa Yorisada)

Gourd-Shaped Liquor Bottle (Yushibin), Okinawa Main Island; Tsuboya ware, Second Shō dynasty, Ryūkyū kingdom, late 18th–19th century

Conservation and Restoration
Room 17  April 15, 2014 (Tue) - April 5, 2020 (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.


Art of the Modern Era | Late 19th–first half of 20th century
Room 18  January 2, 2020 (Thu) - March 15, 2020 (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:
Selflessness, By Yokoyama Taikan, Meiji era, 1897
Plum Blossoms and Lotus Flowers, By Ōchi Shōkan (1882-1958), Taishō era, 1920 (Gift of Mr. Fukami Kichinosuke)
The Legendary Prince Yamato Takeru, By Aoki Shigeru, Meiji era, 1906
Plaque with Moon and Wild Goose, By Kanō Natsuo, Meiji era, 1897
Large Vase with Butterflies and Peonies, By Seifū Yohei III, Meiji era, 1892 (Important Cultural Property, Gift of Japan Delegate Office for World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago)

Education Center: Education Space
Room 19  April 15, 2014 (Tue) - April 5, 2020 (Sun)

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

Room 19  September 18, 2019 (Wed) - March 31, 2020 (Tue)

In traditional Asian painting, the paints were made from natural substances, such as minerals, plants, animals, and even insects. Depending on the base substances, the color tones and usability of the paints differed. Understanding the unique properties of each type of paint, as well as effective use and combination of different paints, allowed for increased variation in painted depictions. The National Treasure Red and White Cotton Rosemallow is an example of works in which the unique properties of the paints have been skillfully utilized. It is a pair of paintings created by the Chinese court painter Li Di in 1197, during the Southern Song dynasty. From this pair of hanging scroll paintings, the one depicting pink flowers has been reproduced based on research.

1st floor

Room T4 & T5  March 13, 2020 (Fri) - May 10, 2020 (Sun)

In Spring 2020, we are commemorating the 70th year since the passing of the Act on Protection of Cultural Heritage. This law was passed a year after a fire broke out in the Kondo (Main Hall) of Horyuji Temple (World Heritage), one of the oldest wooden structures of the world. Invaluable cultural properties, including the astonishing 1300-year old murals from the Asuka period (593–710) were severely damaged in this fire.
In the special exhibition Passing on Cultural Heritage: Buddhist Murals and Sculptures of Horyuji, we are displaying excellent reproductions of the murals of the Main Hall, the Kudara Kannon (National Treasure) and other objects that were damaged. By showing these works we wish to convey the importance of cultural preservation.