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September 16, 2009
From journal Terrific Tokyo
November 20, 2006
Tokyo's National Museum can be found in the north side of green Ueno Park. You can purchase normal entry tickets at the booth on the left and special exhibition tickets at the booth on the right. There are discounts available for students (including University students), disabled people, and the elderly. Normal admission is 600 yen (about $5); special exhibitions cost extra. The museum is generally open from 9:30am to 5pm but you should double-check the website to verify the opening times on a particular day.
After purchasing your ticket there are different buildings to explore. The building on the east side (to the right as you walk in) houses the Asian art collection. There are some beautiful statues, paintings (including woodblock prints, hanging scrolls and calligraphy) and artifacts from hundreds of years ago. The works of art come from Korea, India, China, and southeast Asia.
The large building to the north of the main entrance houses the Japanese collections. Here you'll find priceless paintings, artifacts, Buddhist works of art, ceramics and sculptures. Behind this building is a beautiful Zen-inspired garden that is open when weather permits. It's worth a stroll. During special occasions (i.e., University student appreciation day), there may be a tea ceremony or other event held in an area behind the Japanese Collection building.
The building to the northwest houses the changing exhibitions. Currently, the special exhibition is on Japanese Ichiboku Buddhist Statues and will run until December. These beautiful statues are worth a look but if time and money is constrained then you may have to give it a pass, unfortunately.
The National Museum provides an excellent tour of non-modern art throughout Asia and it may take a long time to explore all of its treasures, so come early. Also, the English website is well designed and very helpful. It provides a lot of relevant information, including admission details, current events, and directions: www.tnm.go.jp/en/gallery Enjoy your tour of Asian art!
From journal Tokyo on the Cheap
Los Gatos, California
November 19, 2003
The museum comprises four buildings. The Main Gallery (Honkan), straight ahead as you enter the main gate, is the most important one, devoted to Japanese art. Here you'll view a comprehensive history of Japanese ceramics from the Jomon Period 3000 B.C. to Imari ware produced during the Meiji Era. You'll also see Buddhist sculptures dating from about A.D. 538 to 1192; samurai armor, helmets, and decorative sword mountings; swords, which throughout Japanese history were considered to embody spirits all their own; textiles and kimono; lacquerware; and paintings, calligraphy, ukiyo-e, and scrolls. Be sure to check out the museum gift shop in the basement; it sells reproductions from the museum's collections as well as traditional crafts from contemporary artists.
The Gallery of Eastern Antiquities (Toyokan) houses art and archaeological artifacts from everywhere in Asia outside of Japan. There are Buddhas from China and Gandhara, stone reliefs from Cambodia, embroidered wall hangings and cloth from India, Iranian and Turkish carpets, Thai and Vietnamese ceramics, and more. Chinese art -- including jade, paintings and calligraphy, and ceramics -- makes up the largest part of the collection, illustrating China's tremendous influence on Japanese art, architecture, and religion. You'll also find Egyptian relics in this gallery including a mummy dating from around 751 to 656 B.C. and wooden objects from the 20th century B.C.
The Heiseikan Gallery holds special exhibitions on its second floor, while the first floor is where you'll find archaeological relics of Japan including pottery and objects from old burial mounds as well as items used in daily life by the Ainu, the indigenous ethnic group of Hokkaido.
The Gallery of Horyuji Treasures (Horyuji Homotsukan) displays priceless Buddhist treasures from the Horyuji Temple in Nara, founded by Prince Shotoku in 607. Displays, representing some of Japan's oldest Buddhist artifacts, include bronze sculpture, ceremonial Gigasku masks used in ritual dances, lacquerware, and paintings.
From journal First Half of Our Dream Vacation