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Treasures from Sacred Izumo: On the Occasion of the Renovation of Izumo Taisha Shrine and 1300 Years of the Kojiki Chronicle

  • Image of "Sacred Column (J., Uzubashira),  Excavated from Izumo Ōyashiro grounds,  Kamakura period, dated 1248, Important Cultural Property, Izumo Ōyashiro, shimane"

    Sacred Column (J., Uzubashira), Excavated from Izumo Ōyashiro grounds, Kamakura period, dated 1248, Important Cultural Property, Izumo Ōyashiro, shimane

    Japanese Gallery (Honkan) Room T4 & T5
    October 10, 2012 (Wed) - November 25, 2012 (Sun)

    Izumo is a land of myths and legends, and is a place where the gods and deities from across Japan gather in autumn. Many precious artifacts still remain in this land, including the immense amount of bronzes found at the Kojindani and Kamoiwakura sites, and a sacred column (uzubashira) excavated from the premises of Izumo Ōyashiro. This column brings to us the image of a grand shrine building, and entices us to the world of myths.
    This year marks the 1300th year of the compilation of the Kojiki, which records mythical legends related to Izumo. In addition, next year is the year for the shrine to be rebuilt and renewed after a period of 60 years. On the occation of these events, this exhibition introduces the sacred land of Izumo through precious cultural assets, beginning with the sacred column (uzubashira) and other treasures of the Izumo Ōyashiro, as well as a designated National Treasure bronze sword, halberds, dotaku bells, arms and armor, swords, and representations of deities.

General Information

Period Wednesday, October 10 - Sunday, November 25, 2012
Venue Honkan Room T5&T4, Tokyo National Museum (Ueno Park)
Hours 9:30 - 17:00
Fridays until 20:00
until 21:00 on Saturday, October 20
(Last entry 30 minutes before closing)
Closed Mondays
Admission Adults: 800 (700) yen
University students: 600 (500) yen
High school students: 400 (300) yen
Junior high school students and under: Free
* Prices shown in ( ) indicate advance and group (more than 20 persons) discount tickets.
* Persons with disabilities are admitted free with one accompanying person each.
* Advance tickets will be sale at the Museum ticket office (during museum hours, 30 minutes before closing hour) from Wednesday, August 1 to Monday, October 8, 2012.
* During this exhibition period, an admission ticket for the special exhibition "CHINA: Grandeur of the Dynasties" (Heiseikan Special Exhibition Galleries; Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - Monday, December 24, 2012) can also be used once on the day of the ticket's use to enter this special exhibition.
Access 10 minutes' walk from JR Ueno Station (Park exit) and Uguisudani Station
15 minutes' walk from Keisei Ueno Station, Tokyo Metro Ueno Station and Tokyo Metro Nezu Station
Organizer Tokyo National Museum, Shimane Prefecture, Shimane Museum of Ancient Izumo, NHK, NHK Promotions Inc., The Yomiuri Shimbun
With the Support of Agency of Cultural Affairs
With the special assistance of Izumo Ōyashiro, Association of Shinto Shrines Shimane Prefecture Office
General Inquiries 03-5405-8686 (Hello Dial)
Exhibition Website http://izumo2012.jp/ (In Japanese)
The website has closed with the end of the exhibition.

Related Events

Japanese Archaeology and Special Exhibition (Heiseikan) Auditorium  October 27, 2012 (Sat)   13:30 - 15:00   RESERVE_FINISH

Highlight of the Exhibition


I. The History and Treasures of Izumo Ōyashiro

Izumo Ōyashiro (also known as Izumo Taisha Shrine) has the longest history in Japan. Its establishment can be traced back to mythological times as relate in Kojiki (The Record of Ancient Matters) and Izumo no kuni fudoki (the Record of Customs and Land of Izumo). This section explores the shrine’s history through various artifacts and artworks such as the colossal sacred column (J., uzubashira), which was excavated in 2000, and a reconstructed model of the ancient main shrine building. Other works include shrine treasures such as the National Treasure-designated Toiletry Case with Deer in Autumn, documents written to the shrine by Emperor Godaigo (1288–1339), and records and maps from the Senge and Kitajima clans, who were administrators of Izumo Province.


秋野鹿蒔絵手箱   Toiletry Case with Deer in Autumn
Kamakura period, 13th century
National Treasure
Izumo Ōyashiro, Shimane
(on exhibit from October 10 to November 4, 2012)


Halberd and Magatama (Comma-shaped Jewel)
Excavated from the Manai site, Shimane Prefecture
Yayoi period, 2nd - 1st century BC
Important Cultural Property
Izumo Ōyashiro, Shimane


Construction Plan of Izumo Shrine Building
Kamakura to Muromachi periods, 13th - 16th century
Senge Clan, Shimane
(on exhibit from October 10 to November 4, 2012)


Reconstruction Model of Ancient Izumo Ōyashiro (Scale 1:10)
Heisei 11, 1999
Izumo City, Shimane


宇豆柱   Sacred Column (J., Uzubashira)
Excavated from Izumo Ōyashiro grounds, Shimane Prefecture
Kamakura period, dated 1248
Important Cultural Property
Izumo Ōyashiro, Shimane



II. The Cultural Assets of Shimane

The numerous bronze ware excavated from the Kojindani and Kamo-Iwakura ruins greatly changed the image that the Japanese held of ancient Yayoi-period (300 BC–300 AD) society. This section features seventy-nine examples of National Treasure-designated bronze objects and their reproductions, which demonstrate their original radiant state. Also, introduced here are celebrated treasures of Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples in Shimane Prefecture such as: Gakuen-ji Temple’s Important Cultural Property-designated Standing Kannon Bosatsu (Skt., Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva), which was purportedly carved in Izumo in the seventh century; statues of Shinto gods from Joso-ji Temple, Kiyomizu-dera Temple, and Akana Hachiman Shrine; Sada Shrine’s armor, which is said to have been offered by the feudal lord Amago of Izumo Province during the Warring States period (1467–1568); and the treasured sword from Susa Shrine.


Bronzes (Swords, Halberds, Dotaku (Ritual Bells))
Excavated from the Kojindani site, Shimane Prefecture
Yayoi period, 2nd - 1st century BC
National Treasure
Agency for Cultural Affairs


Dotaku (Ritual Bells)
Excavated from the Kamo Iwakura site, Shimane Prefecture
Yayoi period, 2nd - 1st century BC
National Treasure
Agency for Cultural Affairs


Domaru Armor with Variegated Cords
Muromachi period, 16th century
Important Cultural Property
Sada Shrine, Shimane


Seated Female Deity Himegami
By Kyokaku
Kamakura period, dated 1326
Important Cultural Property
Akana Hachiman Shrine, Shimane
Seated Matara Deity
By Kakusei
Kamakura period, dated 1329
Cultural Property of Shimane Prefecture
Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Shimane