TOP
 >> Exhibitions
 >> Honkan

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.

Floor Map
Museum Shop

Honkan (Highlights of Japanese Art) on the 2nd floor will be closed for maintenance work from Monday, December 10, 2018 - Tuseday, January 1, 2019.


2nd floor "Highlights of Japanese Art"

  
The Dawn of Japanese Art: Jomon, Yayoi and Kofun periods
Room 1  July 18, 2018 (Wed) - December 9, 2018 (Sun)

Current exhibit includes:
Deep Bowl with Flame-like Ornamentation, Attributed provenance: Umataka, Nagaoka-shi, Niigata, Jomon period, 3000–2000 BC
Dotaku (Bell-shaped bronze), Crossed bands design, From Mukaiyama, Ibaraki, Hidaka-cho, Wakayama, Yayoi period, 1st–3rd century
Haniwa (Terracotta tomb object), Man carrying a hoe, From Shimofurei-cho, Isesaki-shi, Gunma, Kofun period, 6th century
Dogu (Clay figurine), With goggle-shaped eyes, Excavated at Rokugo ishinadate, Misato-cho, Akita, Jomon period, 1,000–400 BC
Mirror, Imaginary crocodile-like creature design, Provenance unknown, Kofun period, 4th century (Important Cultural Property, Gift of Mr. Dan Inou)

  
The Rise of Buddhism: Asuka–Nara period
Room 1  August 7, 2018 (Tue) - September 17, 2018 (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:
Standing Bodhisattva, Asuka period, 7th century
Tomoku bosatsu kyo, Vol. 2, Votive sutra of Kibi no Yuri, Nara period, dated 766 (Important Cultural Property, Gift of Mr. Sorimachi Eisaku)

  
Room 2  August 7, 2018 (Tue) - September 2, 2018 (Sun)

This scroll contains three documents related to Priest Saicho (766-822), also known as Dengyo Daishi. Saicho was the founder of Enryakuji temple on Mount Hiei, a sacred mountain located to the northeast of central Kyoto, and the founder of the Tendai sect of Buddhism in Japan. The documents contained within concern Saicho’s credentials as a Buddhist priest. The first document, dated the tenth day of the eleventh month, 780 (Hoki 11), is a copy of the notification permitting Saicho to enter the priesthood. It reveals his age being fifteen at the time, his secular name being “Mitsuno’obito Hirono,” and details surrounding his family register. The second document, dated the twentieth day of the first month, 783 (Enryaku 2), is a copy of the certificate attesting to Saicho entering the priesthood. Recorded in it are his physical features, such as the moles on his skin. With the seal of an officiating priest stamped across the entire text and dated the sixth day of the fourth month, 785 (Enryaku 4), the third document is the original notification confirming that Saicho, at the age of 20, was ordained a certified Buddhist priest.

  
Buddhist Art: Heian–Muromachi period
Room 3  August 7, 2018 (Tue) - September 17, 2018 (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 periods.

Current exhibit includes:
Seated Amida Nyorai (Amitabha), Kamakura period, 12th-13th century (Lent by Ganshoji, Shizuoka)
Amida Nyorai (Amitabha), Kamakura period, 14th century (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Iwaki city, Fukushima)
The White Path between Two Rivers, Kamakura period, 13th century (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Komyo-ji, Kyoto)
Jizo Bosatsu (Ksitigarbha), Nanbokucho period, 14th century         
Enmaten (Yama) Mandala, Kamakura period, 13th century (Important Cultural Property, Private collection)
Illustrations and Explanations of the Three Jewels (Sanbo ekotoba), Vol. 1, Kamakura period, dated 1273 (National Treasure)    
Sutra on the Five Hundred Great Vows of Sakyamuni Buddha, Kamakura period, dated 1237 (Important Cultural Property, Lent by osanji, Kyoto)
Lotus SutraKunoji version; “Kanji bon” chapter, Heian period, 12th century (National Treasure, Lent by Tesshuji, Shizuoka)

  
Courtly Art: Heian–Muromachi period
Room 3  August 7, 2018 (Tue) - September 17, 2018 (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 displayed in this room with decorative art objects.

Current exhibit includes:
Story of Mice, Artist unknown, Edo period, 18th century
Meigetsu ki (Diary of Fujiwara no Teika) , Entries made in the seventh and eighth months of Tenpuku 1, By Fujiwara no Teika, Kamakura period, dated 1233 (Important Cultural Property)
Waka Poems, By Saionji Sanekane, Kamakura period, 13th century (Important Art Object)

  
Zen and Ink Painting: Kamakura–Muromachi period
Room 3  August 7, 2018 (Tue) - September 17, 2018 (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:
Calligraphy in Three Large Characters, By Sekishitsu Zenkyu, Nanbokucho period, dated 1386
Painting on Zen EnlightenmentThe Fifth Patriarch Rowing the Sixth Patriarch across a River; Deshan with His Alms Bowl, By Kano Motonobu (Important Cultural Property)   
Zen PatriarchsXiangyan and a Bamboo Being Struck, By Kano Motonobu (Important Cultural Property)   

  
The Art of Tea Ceremony
Room 4  June 19, 2018 (Tue) - September 9, 2018 (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:
Flower Vase in Shape of Jade Cong, Celadon glaze, Guan ware, ChinaPassed down by the Owari Tokugawa family, Southern Song dynasty, 12th–13th century (Important Cultural Property, Gift of Mr. Hirota Matsushige)
Water Jar, Fishing net design, Mino ware, shino type, Azuchi-Momoyama–Edo period, 16th–17th century (Private collection)
Letter, By Sen no Rikyu, Azuchi-Momoyama period, 16th century (Gift of Mr. Matsunaga Yasuzaemon)
Tea Bowl, Horimishima type; known as "Kimura", Joseon dynasty, 16th–17th century (Gift of Mr. Hirota Matsushige)
Hexagonal Dish with Handles, Carriage and figure design in underglaze blue, Jingdezhen ware, China; kosometsuke type, Ming dynasty, 17th century (Gift of Mr. Hirota Matsushige)

  
Attire of the Military Elite: Heian–Edo period
Room 5 & 6  July 18, 2018 (Wed) - September 30, 2018 (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:
Gusoku Type Armor, European-style cuirass with dark blue lacing, Azuchi-Momoyama period, 16th century (Important Cultural Property)
Tachi Sword, Known as "Hojo Tachi", By Ichimonji school, Kamakura period, 13th century (Important Cultural Property)
Hyogogusari Style Sword Mounting (For sword known as “Hojo Tachi”), With triple-triangle crests, Kamakura period, 13th century (Important Cultural Property)

  
Folding Screens and Sliding Door Paintings: Azuchi-Momoyama–Edo period
Room 7  August 7, 2018 (Tue) - September 17, 2018 (Mon)

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:
Landscape, By Kano Koi, Edo period, 17th century
Landscape, By Kano Tan'yu, Edo period, 17th century (Important Art Object, Gift of Mr. Nishiwaki Kenji)

  
The Arts of Daily Life: Azuchi-Momoyama–Edo period
Room 8  July 24, 2018 (Tue) - October 14, 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:
Bunko (Box for books and other items), Design of a maple tree in maki-e lacquer, By Hara Yoyusai, Edo period, 19th century
Koshimaki (Summer garment worn around the waist), Design of chrysanthemums, pines, bamboos, plums, cranes, and tortoises on a red figured-satin ground, Formerly preserved by a vassal of the Kurume domain, Edo period, 18th–19th century
Hitoe (Summer garment), Steam and flowering plant on particolored purple and light blue ro gause,
Edo period, 19th century
Water Dropper, Design of an eggplant with Mount Fuji and the Miho pine grove,
Edo period, 18th–19th century (Gift of Mr. Watanabe Toyotaro and Mr. Watanabe Masayuki)
Shallow Bowl, Design of a bush clover,
Azuchi-Momoyama–Edo period, 16th–17th century
Dish, Landscape and deer design in overglaze enamel,
Imari ware, Edo period, 17th century

  
Developments in Painting and Calligraphy: Azuchi-Momoyama - Edo period
Room 8  August 7, 2018 (Tue) - September 17, 2018 (Mon)

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

Current exhibit includes:
A Poet's Mountain Retreat, By Uragami Gyokudo, Edo period, dated 1792 (Important Cultural Property)
Flowers and Birds, By Uragami Shunkin, Edo period, dated 1823
Letter, By Tokugawa Ieyasu, Edo period, 17th century (Important Art Object)

  
Noh and Kabuki: Masks and Costumes in the Noh Play Benkei on the Bridge
Room 9  June 19, 2018 (Tue) - August 19, 2018 (Sun)

The Noh play Benkei on the Bridge is based on the legendary encounter between the young warrior Ushiwaka and the fighting monk Benkei. As the title suggests, this encounter takes place on a bridge, and ensues in a duel in which Benkei is subdued. In the first act, the actor portraying Benkei wears a beshimi mask, characterized by its strong, rough-hewn features, together with a mizugoromo robe and a kakuboshi cap. This costume is typical for monk characters in Noh theater. In act two, Benkei wears a happi garment, which represents armor. Ushiwaka appears for the first time in this act, and wears a beautiful furisode robe with long sleeves, which serves to reflect his young age. These costumes contrast the vigor of Benkei with the elegance of Ushiwaka.

Current exhibit includes:
Happi (Noh costume), Design of clouds and dharma wheels on a dark blue ground, Edo period, 19th century (Lent by the Agency for Cultural Affairs)
Hangire (Noh costume), Design of undulating stripes, tomoe comma shapes, and hammer wheels on a red ground, Edo period, 18th century
Atsuita (Noh costume), Design of clematis arabesques on a red and white checkered ground, Edo period, 18th century

  
Ukiyo-e and Fashion in the Edo Period: Ukiyo-e
Room 10  July 31, 2018 (Tue) - August 26, 2018 (Sun)

The genre of Japanese art called ukiyo-e portrays the common people of the Edo period (1603–1868) as well as their interests and leisure activities. Early ukiyo-e was all painted by hand. Later, ukiyo-e prints began to be mass-produced using woodblocks, while subsequent advances in woodblock carving and printing led to the creation of multicolor prints called nishiki-e, or “brocade pictures,” so called because of their vibrant combinations of pigments. The current exhibition features prints that were meant to be cut out and pasted onto fans by the artists Hokusai, Kunisada, Kuniyoshi, and Hirosige, as well as works portraying beauties with fans.

Current exhibit includes:
Unusual Views of Outstanding Sights: Kiso Surihari Pass, By Katsushika Hokusai, Edo period, 19th century
Three Beauties of Edo: Tomimoto Toyohina, Naniwaya Okita, Takashima Ohisa, By Kitagawa Utamaro, Edo period, 18th century

  
Ukiyo-e and Fashion in the Edo Period: Fashion
Room 10  June 19, 2018 (Tue) - August 19, 2018 (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), Design of flowing water and autumn leaves on a black plain-weave ramie ground, Edo period, 18th century
Katabira (Unlined summer garment), Design of bush clovers and [sho] panpipes on a white ramie ground, Edo period, 19th century
Inro (Medicine case), Design of fireflies in [maki-e] lacquer, Edo period, 19th century (Gift of Mr. Quincy A. Shaw)
 

2nd floor

  
Netsuke: The Prince Takamado Collection
The Prince Takamado Collection Room  July 24, 2018 (Tue) - October 14, 2018 (Sun)

Including:
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  July 10, 2018 (Tue) - September 2, 2018 (Sun)

The Meiji Restoration, which took place 150 years ago, led not only to major reforms in Japan’s political system and society, but also affected its culture in a variety of ways. This thematic exhibition, the primary scope of which is the early Meiji era, explores different aspects of this turning point in Japanese history by observing nature, people, cities, and historical events as they were depicted in modern works of calligraphy and painting now in the collection of the Tokyo National Museum. We hope that this exhibition will provide visitors with an opportunity to become familiar with Japan’s Meiji era as it was depicted in both calligraphy and painting.

1st floor

  
Japanese Sculpture
Room 11  July 24, 2018 (Tue) - October 21, 2018 (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 Jizo Bosatsu (Ksitigarbha), Kamakura period, 13th century
Standing Juichimen Kannon Bosatsu (Ekadasamukha),
Heian period, 9th century
Standing Bosatsu (Bodhisattva),
Kamakura period, 13th century

  
Lacquerware
Room 12  July 3, 2018 (Tue) - September 30, 2018 (Sun)

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:
Saddle, Lion design in mother-of-pearl inlay, Heian-Kamakura period, 12th–13th century (Important Cultural Property, Gift of Mr. Kano Jigoro)
Writing Box, Courtly carriage design in
maki-e lacquer, Edo period, 17th century (Important Cultural Property)
Tebako (Cosmetic box) and Its Contents, Tachibana (citrus) tree design in maki-e lacquer, Nanbokucho period, dated 1390 (National Treasure, Lent by Kumanohayatama taisha, Wakayama)

  
Metalwork
Room 13  July 10, 2018 (Tue) - September 30, 2018 (Sun)

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:
Reliquary for Cintamani (Sacred jewel), Stupa type, Kamakura period, 13th century (National Treasure, Lent by Chofukuji, Nara)
Hanging Lantern, Design of plums and bamboos in openwork, Excavated at Sen'yoji temple site, Chibadera-machi, Chuo-ku, Chiba-shi, Muromachi period, dated 1550 (Important Cultural Property, Gift of Mr. Hatano Yujiro)
Mirror with an Image of Juichimen Kannon (Eleven-headed Avalokitesvara) in Hairline Engraving, Heian period, dated 1159 (Important Cultural Property)

  
Japanese Swords
Room 13  July 10, 2018 (Tue) - September 17, 2018 (Mon)

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

Current exhibit includes:
Chokuto Sword, Known as "Suiryu ken", Nara period, 8th century (Important Cultural Property)
Tanto Sword, Known as "Atsushi Toshiro", By Yoshimitsu, Kamakura period, 13th century (National Treasure)
Tachi Sword, By Nagamitsu, Kamakura period, 13th century (National Treasure)

  
Ceramics
Room 13  July 10, 2018 (Tue) - September 30, 2018 (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, Natural glaze, Tokoname ware, Heian period, 12th century (Important Cultural Property, Private collection)
Water Jar in Shape of Gold Powder BagYellow glaze,
Takatori ware, Edo period, 17th century
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)
Large Dish with Foliate Rim, Flying phoenix design in overglaze enamel,
Imari ware, Edo period, 17th century (Important Art Object, Gift of Ms. Yamamoto Tomiko and Mr. Yamamoto Kenji)
Sake Flasks, Autumn grasses design in overglaze enamel,
Imari ware, Kakiemon type, Edo period, 17th century (Private collection)
Large Bowl, Landscape design in underglaze blue,
Imari ware, Edo period, 17th century

  
Room 14  July 10, 2018 (Tue) - September 30, 2018 (Sun)

From the Edo period (1603–1868) to the Meiji era (1868–1912), the circumstances surrounding Buddhist art in Japan changed dramatically. In the Meiji era, a nationalistic movement to expel Buddhism, which some viewed as a foreign religion, led to the destruction of countless Buddhist sculptures. Meanwhile, the craftsmen who created these sculptures were forced to seek new work. The government, however, fearing the continued destruction of these objects, so symbolic of Japan’s history and culture, took measures to protect them. Thus, in the Modern era, Buddhist sculptures, which had been objects of workshop, also came to be accepted as “cultural properties,” while former Buddhist sculptors began to use their abilities to create what was now considered art. This thematic exhibition compares sculptures from the Edo period and the Meiji era, allowing visitors to examine how the diversification of values prompted new developments in Buddhist sculptural expression.

  
Records of History
Room 15  July 10, 2018 (Tue) - September 2, 2018 (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.

Current exhibit includes:
Bird's-eye View of the Keep at the Main Enclosure of Edo Castle, Edo period, 19th century
Teahouse Konnichian,
By Matsudaira Sadanobu, Edo period, 19th century (Gift of Mr. Tokugawa Muneyoshi)
Map of the Koshudochu Highway, Naito-shinjuku, Shimotakaido, Kamitakaido, Kokuryo, Kamifuda, Shimofuda, Shimoishiwara, and Kamiishiwara,
Edo period, dated 1806 (Important Cultural Property)
Distant View from Shimofuri Bridge, Nikko,
By Yokoyama Matsusaburo, Dated 1869–70
Karamon Gate of Toshogu Shrine, Nikko,
By Yokoyama Matsusaburo, Dated 1869–70

  
Ainu and Ryukyu: Life of the Ainu People
Room 16  August 7, 2018 (Tue) - October 28, 2018 (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:
Storage House (Model), Hokkaido Ainu, 19th century (Transferred from the Bureau for the Vienna World Exposition)
Weaving Beater, Hokkaido Ainu, 19th century
Deer Call, Hokkaido Ainu, 19th century (Transferred from the Bureau for the Vienna World Exposition)
Coat, Hokkaido Ainu, 19th century (Transferred from the Bureau for the Vienna World Exposition)
The Village of Koropokkur, By Oda To'u, Dated 1907

  
Conservation and Restoration
Room 17  April 15, 2014 (Tue) - April 7, 2019 (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 19, 2018 (Tue) - September 9, 2018 (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:
Yumedono Hall, By Yasuda Yukihiko, Dated 1912
Master Goryu, By Yokoyama Taikan, Dated 1912
Seashore Village (Houses with white plaster walls), By Nakamura Tsune, Dated 1910
Eagle, By Suzuki Chokichi, Dated 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 7, 2019 (Sun)

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

  
Room 20  August 7, 2018 (Tue) - March 31, 2019 (Sun)

Repousse Buddhist Images were produced by placing a thin bronze sheet over a relief, and hammering it into shape.  These were popular between the late 7th and 8th centuries, and were displayed on temple walls, or placed in small shrines for private worship.
These full-scale models show the production process divided into 6stages.  We hope that they enable visitors to learn about how this type of work was created and the materials used. 

1st floor

  
Room T4 & T5  July 24, 2018 (Tue) - September 9, 2018 (Sun)

Tokyo National Museum will hold the family-oriented program, TNM and Art Tunes! Present: Becoming Japanese Art, to coincide with summer vacation.
This exhibit is like a museum where you can become part of the art! This is a special art museum for people who have fallen in love with art by watching the NHK show Art Tunes! and also for those who want to enjoy art even more. It’s open this summer at the Tokyo National Museum (TNM).
TNM is the oldest and largest museum in Japan. Its collection includes art works that have inspired songs and animations on Art Tunes!