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Special Exhibition Commemorating the 1,200th Anniversary of Jingoji Temple’s Founding
Jingoji: The Dawn of Shingon Buddhism

  • Image of "Buddha Yakushi (detail), Heian period, 8-9th century; Jingoji Temple, Kyoto (National Treasure)"

    Buddha Yakushi (detail), Heian period, 8-9th century; Jingoji Temple, Kyoto (National Treasure)

    Japanese Archaeology and Special Exhibition (Heiseikan) Special Exhibition Galleries
    July 17, 2024 (Wed) - September 8, 2024 (Sun)

    Located in the Takao area in the northern suburb of Kyoto City, Jingoji Temple traces its origins to Takaosanji Temple, which was founded by the court official Wake no Kiyomaro (733–799). The temple was the first place in Japan where the monk Kūkai (774–835) practiced Shingon Buddhism after he returned from Tang China. This exhibition commemorates the 1,200th anniversary of the founding of Jingoji, which officially became an esoteric Buddhist temple in 824, and the 1,250th anniversary of the birth of Kūkai.
    The exhibition presents invaluable cultural properties passed down at Jingoji Temple, including treasures associated with Kūkai. Major highlights in the lineup include Buddha Yakushi, a national treasure and masterpiece of sculpture from the early Heian period, and the Mandala of the Two Worlds (Takao Mandala), another national treasure that recently underwent conservation work for the first time in 230 years.


*First Rotation: July 17–August 12, 2024
Second Rotation: August 14–September 8, 2024




1. Kūkai’s Temple: 1,200-Year-Old Sacred Treasures from the Dawn of Shingon

Kūkai founded the Shingon school in Japan based on a systematized form of esoteric practice he studied in China. Its adherents have created intricate works of art throughout Shingon’s long history, including mandalas illustrating the cosmological worldviews described in its teachings and diverse types of ritual implements. The exhibition will feature close to 100 venerated works of esoteric Buddhist art, including 17 National Treasures and 44 Important Cultural Properties, many of which are sculptures, paintings, and decorative arts that date to Kūkai’s lifetime.


The Buddha Śākyamuni
Heian period, 12th century, Jingoji Temple, Kyoto
(National Treasure)

Second Rotation


Minamoto no Yoritomo (Purportedly)
Kamakura period, 13th century, Jingoji Temple, Kyoto
(National Treasure)

First Rotation


Registry of Abhişeka Rite Recipients
By Kūkai, Heian period, 812, Jingoji Temple, Kyoto
(National Treasure)

On exhibit from July 17 through August 25, 2024


2. A Historic First: The Buddha Yakushi On View Off Temple Grounds

Yakushi is a buddha associated with medicine and healing who was venerated in Japan prior to Shingon’s introduction. This statue was the principal object of worship at one of the temples that merged to form Jingoji. A masterpiece of early Heian sculpture, the figure’s stern expression combined with full, rounded features have a unique and powerful effect on the viewer. The exhibition marks the first time in history this revered statue will be available for viewing outside the temple.


The Buddha Yakushi (Bhaiṣajyaguru)
Heian period, 8th–9th century, Jingoji Temple, Kyoto
(National Treasure)


3. Unveiled after a Centuries-Long Wait for Conservation:
National Treasure The Mandala of the Two Realms (Takao Mandala)

The Mandala of the Two Realms collectively refers to mandalas depicting the Womb Realm and Diamond Realm of esoteric Buddhist cosmology. Produced during Kūkai’s lifetime, Jingoji’s mandala is the oldest extant one of its kind. Its other name, the Takao Mandala, alludes to Jingoji’s location on Mount Takao. The individual mandalas are almost four square meters in size. The mandala will be unveiled at the exhibition in renewed splendor after its first conservation treatment in nearly 230 years.

Diamond Realm Mandala
Womb Realm Mandala

Mandala of the Two Realms, Known as the “Takao Mandala”
Heian period, 9th century, Jingoji Temple, Kyoto
(National Treasure)

Diamond Realm Mandala: Second Rotation
Womb Realm Mandala: First Rotation


4. Oldest Extant Set of the Five Manifestations of the Bodhisattva Kokūzō (Skt. Ākāśagarbha)

The Five Manifestations of the Bodhisattva Kokūzō were enshrined under the oversight of Kūkai’s successor, Shinzei. They comprise the oldest extant set of all five figures made in Japan. Emperor Ninmyō (810–850) is thought to have commissioned them to invoke divine protection of the state. Their elegant features and balanced compositions indicate they were produced by the most skilled sculptors of the day. All five statues will be on view as a set outside the temple in a groundbreaking first during the exhibition.



The Five Great Manifestations of the Bodhisattva Kokūzō (Ākāśagarbha)
Heian period, 9th century, Jingoji Temple, Kyoto
(National Treasure)


General Information

Period July 17–September 8, 2024
Venue Heiseikan, Tokyo National Museum (Ueno Park)
Hours 9:30–17:00
Open until 19:00 on Fridays and Saturdays. (except for August 30 and 31)
*Last admission 30 minutes before closing.
Closed Mondays (except for August 12) and August 13

Visitors can view this exhibition without making reservations. Tickets may also be purchased at the ticket counter, but you may be asked to wait if the exhibition is crowded.

Adults: ¥2,100 (¥1,900)
University students: ¥1,300 (¥1,100)
High school students: ¥900 (¥700)
Junior high school students and under: Free

  • *Prices in parentheses indicate discount ticket prices for advance purchase.
  • *Persons with disabilities are admitted free with one accompanying person each (please present an ID at the ticket booth).
  • *Visitors with tickets for this exhibition may also view the regular exhibitions on the day of their visit at no extra charge.
  • *Early discount tickets will be on sale at the museum ticket booths from May 17 to July 15 (during the museum’s opening hours, excluding the last 30 minutes) and major ticketing agencies from May 17 to July 16, as well as on the official exhibition website.
  • *Students who are Campus Members of the Tokyo National Museum can purchase same-day admission tickets at ¥1,100 (discount of ¥200). Please present your Campus Member status and student ID at the ticket window.
Access 10-minute walk from JR Ueno Station (Park exit) and Uguisudani Station
15-minute walk from Keisei Ueno Station, Tokyo Metro Ueno Station, and Tokyo Metro Nezu Station
Organizers Tokyo National Museum, Takaosan Jingoji, The Yomiuri Shimbun, NHK, NHK Promotions Inc.
With the Special
Sponsorship of
Canon Inc., Daiwa Securities Group, T&D Insurance Group, Meiji Holdings Co., Ltd.
With the Sponsorship of East Japan Railway Company, SHIMIZU CORPORATION, TAKENAKA CORPORATION, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd., MITSUBISHI GAS CHEMICAL CO., INC., MITSUBISHI ESTATE CO., LTD., Mitsubishi Corporation
With the Special Support of Agency for Cultural Affairs
With the Assistance of SGC
General Inquiries 050-5541-8600 (Hello Dial)
Exhibition Website https://tsumugu.yomiuri.co.jp/jingoji/index.html