Tokyo National Museum

Japan’s National Treasures, from various eras in history

Tokyo National Museum

Sitting in Ueno Park is the Tokyo National Museum, the oldest national museum in Japan. Inside, you’ll find thousands of precious artifacts, including Buddhist statues, scrolls from the Heian era, and Haniwa, the fun terra-cotta sculptures from Japan’s BC eras. 

The grounds are expansive, but you’ll probably want to start with Honkan, the main building in the front. Here, you can learn about the history of Japanese art.

Essentially, you’ll be traveling in time as you go through the rooms. Although there’s no photography allowed for some of the objects, you’ll find that most are fair game. You can get some clean shots here.

I probably had too much fun with all the haniwa, but in general, you get to see some pretty cool stuff. And there’s a ton of it.

Special exhibitions at Tokyo National Museum

If you’ve seen everything already, check out one of their special exhibits. They also change the items on display about five times a year. That means if you’re really into the items on display, you’ll find something new to see every once in a while. See their site for more details.

Tokyo National Museum special exhibit
Tokyo National Museum special exhibit

Other areas

When you’re done with the main building, you can also explore the other buildings. Towards the east of the entrance, there’s the Toyokan, featuring art from other countries in Asia. Towards the west, you’ll find even more buildings housing cafes and more artifacts for your viewing pleasure. Don’t forget the garden in the back as well!

Tokyo National Museum

Hours: 9:30am – 5pm (Closed most Mondays. Sometimes open until 9pm. Check website for details)
Address: 13-9 Uenokoen, Taito City, Tokyo 110-8712
Price: Adult 620 yen, College student 410 yen, High school or under & 70+ enter free
Website: http://www.tnm.jp/

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