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Tokyo National Museum, The Japanese Gallery (Honkan)

Tokyo National Museum, The Japanese Gallery (Honkan)

If you want to delve deeper into Japan's rich history and explore the evolution of art over time, then Tokyo National Museum is the place for you.

Tokyo National Museum is Japan's oldest and largest museum.

It contains various buildings featuring specific exhibitions: Honkan (Japanese Gallery), Heiseikan (special exhibitions), Hyokeikan (special exhibitions and events), Toyokan (Asian Gallery), Kuroda Memorial Hall, The Gallery of Horyuji Treasures.

Tokyo National Museum map

Opening hours and admission

Open from 9:30 am to 5 pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and from 9:30 am to 7 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Closed on Mondays and from the 25th of December to the 1st of January.

An entry ticket for adults is 1000 Yen for regular exhibitions. You need to purchase separate tickets for special exhibitions.

How to get there

Located in Ueno Park, Tokyo National Museum is a 13-minute walk from Ueno Station (Keihin-Tōhoku Line, Yamanote Line, Ueno-Tokyo Line, Tokyo Metro Ginza Line and Hibiya Line).

The Japanese Gallery (Honkan)

On my most recent visit, I focused exclusively on the Japanese Gallery (Honkan).

The current building was opened in 1938 and has 2 levels containing 23 exhibit rooms.

Although the museum has around 120.000 objects, 'only' a few thousand ( 3000-4000) items are on display at one time.

Tokyo National Museum, The Japanese Gallery (Honkan)

On the First Floor - Japanese Sculpture, Laquerware, Metalworks, Swords, Ceramics, Records of History, Ainu and Ryūkyū and Art of the Modern Era.

On the Second Floor - Ancient Art, the National Treasure Gallery, Arts of the Imperial Court, Zen and Ink Painting, Armor of the Samurai, Folding Screens and Sliding Doors, Decorative Art, Painting and Calligraphy, the Art of Fashion, Ukiyo-e and the Imperial Lounge.

All objects have a description underneath in Japanese, Korean and English.

To get a better idea of what you can expect, below you can find a few examples from some of the Exhibits.

Decorative Arts

Overglaze Enamel work by Seiji Kaisha Company.

Folding Screens

Tokyo National Museum, The Japanese Gallery (Honkan), Folding Screen

Folding Screens and Sliding doors from the 16th to the 19th century.

Terracotta and National Treasure Gallery objects

Horse - Haniwa, a terracotta tomb object from the 6th century - Kofun Period

Clay Figurine with goggle-like eyes from the Jomon period, 1000-400 BC


Tokyo National Museum, The Japanese Gallery (Honkan), sword

Ishida Masamune - Blade for a Katana

Samurai Armor

Tokyo National Museum, The Japanese Gallery (Honkan), Samurai Armor

Armor from the Edo Period, inspired by the ones from Japan's Middle Ages

Armors (Gusoku) from the Edo Period (17th Century) and the Azuchi-Momoyama Period (16th Century)


Tokyo National Museum, The Japanese Gallery (Honkan), ukiyo-e

'Viewing Cherry Blossoms' by Utagawa Hunisada, Edo Period - 1858

Imperial Palanquin

Tokyo National Museum, The Japanese Gallery (Honkan), Imperial Palanquin

Used by Emperors Komei and Meiji.

Have you ever been there? If so, I would love to hear what your favorite exhibition was, in the comments below.

I hope life is treating you well.

Take care.

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