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“Very nice museum in a beautiful park”

Tokyo National Museum The Heiseikan
Ranked #26 of 336 things to do in Taito
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Level 4 Contributor
29 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Very nice museum in a beautiful park”
Reviewed January 6, 2014

The museum had some really nice permanent exhibits and interesting special exhibits when we were there. Only issue is that explanations in English of the various pieces is very limited, so often you don’t really know what you are looking at, unless you understand the much more extensive descriptions in Japanese. It is located in a beautiful park that has other important museums. Just strolling around in the park is great.

Visited December 2013
Thank Jes K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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156 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
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English first
La Mesa, CA.
Level 6 Contributor
173 reviews
107 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 211 helpful votes
“Blockbuster museum, blockbuster crowds though”
Reviewed November 16, 2013

I recently attended the current exhibit at the Heiseikan at the Tokyo National Museum. It was a combination of screens depecting Kyoto in the 1500's, a brilliant short movie about Ryoanji Temple in western Kyoto and a large number of panels from the Nijo Palace in Kyoto.

While the screens were stunning, the size of the crowd was also making it almost impossible to see them at any sort of leisure which was a shame as it was an exceptional exhibit gathered from all over Japan. Admitted we went on a Saturday which was not the best ever choice but still.......This part of the exhibit was best viewed from the cataloge which was only 2,500 Yen for a hard back catalog with 8 separate fold out enclosures showing the screens in sufficient detail to be enjoyed.

As noted the short movie of the seasons at Ryoanji were stunning and served as a transition of sorts between the screens and panels from Nijo "Castle" Palace, the castle itself being long since reduced to ashes.

The panels were most impressive, and their display was excellent and despite their artistic and historical excellence they were much less crowded than the screen portion of the exhibit.

The building itself is relatively new having been built at the start of the Heisei era 25 years ago and unlike many perhaps most Japanese public buildings it has been well maintained over the years. There is also a most excellent exhibit, completely uncrowded of pre-historic Japanese artworks on the lower floor.

Note admission to the special exhibit also entitles you to enter the other 4 main museums in the compound if you have the stamina to see them.

Well worth going, but try to avoid the weekends.

Visited November 2013
Thank Ted C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mumbai, India
Level 5 Contributor
66 reviews
54 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 93 helpful votes
“The Tokyo National Museum”
Reviewed November 9, 2013

Set up in 1872, it is the oldest museum in Japan, and has the finest collection of cultural treasures of any. Its collection has a total of over 113,000 artifacts, including 87 National Treasures, and has about 4,000 to 5,000 on display at any time. The museum is spread over three large buildings, one of which was closed during my visit. It is also one of the world’s great museums, and merits a full-day for the visit. Apart from exquisite Japanese artifacts, it has high-quality cultural treasures from China, India , Korea, Cambodia, Indonesia, Egypt, Turkey, Iran and others.
Japanese cultural treasures are in the main central building and range from the Heian period (794 to 1192 AD) and include Buddhist religious sculptures. There is a beautiful statue of Buddha in Nirvana, lacquerware dating back to 5,000 BC, Japanese swords with well-ornamented sword guards, beautifully enameled porcelain jars and plates with richly coloured floral and bird paintings, and a great deal more.
Domaru ceremonial armour, a room full of Noh and Kabuki face masks, richly decorated kimonos, lacquered wooden decorative objects, and some of the most exquisite calligraphy anywhere. A silk wall hanging titled “Ducks” was one of the most beautiful on display. Kannon Riding a Dragon represents a high water mark in Japanese wood work. Each such work is a product of exceptional Japanese artistry. A small separate room has the Prince Takamacho Collection of objets d’art – small Netsuke gems. A Head of the Buddha, carved in ivory, is particularly superb.
Highlighting the Chinese section are numerous Buddhist stone carvings. Particularly outstanding is a large marble statue of the standing Avalokiteswara and an intricate marble statue of the seated Buddhisatva. There are also stone Buddhas from the Baoqingsi Temple. Chinese paintings and calligraphy are well represented. The Tokyo National Museum has “some of the world’s finest collections of Chinese paintings”.
In the section on decorative arts is a king’s ransom in the most exquisite porcelainware, featuring dragons, fruits, flowers and human figurines. There are also numerous terracotta figurines – tomb guardians, warriors, musicians, female dancers, and the like. Particularly charming was a large, beautifully glazed double-humped Bactrian camel.
India’s rich cultural heritage also, shines through, with Buddhist statues from Gandhara (now in Northwest Pakistan), Mathura as well as North and Central India. There are intricate stone carvings of the Buddha achieving Nirvana. One of the Buddha carvings is exceptionally artistic for a third century Kushan Dynasty work. From South India comes a Standing Bhairava carved during the Chola Dynasty per iod. Interestingly, the knowledge of cave temples is said to have “spread from India to China in the fourth century.”
In a separate section are a number of Indian miniature paintings of the Bundi School (late 18th century ), with water colour, gold and silver on paper. Another painting shows one Maharajah garlanding another (Bikaner School). This section is not very representative of Indian miniature paintings, however.
Korean cultural treasures include ceramics of the Three Kingdoms period (around first century BC) onwards. Particularly attractive is a gold crown inlaid with precious stones, and some polished stone daggers. There are also Korean costumes, decorative roof tile designs, and a statue of Bodhisattva, with one leg pendent. Each of those exhibits reflects a deep sense of aesthetics.
Southeast Asian cultures are also well represented at the museum. There are Khmer sculptures from Cambodia, particularly from the Angkor period (9 to 14 century AD). The Angkor Dynasty represented the golden age of Khmer culture. I was very impressed by the filigree-like sandstone carvings of Apsaras – Heavenly Maidens. These are more impressive than any carvings I had seen at the Siem Reap museum.
Indonesia has fabulous batik prints, fabrics woven with gold thread, Wayang Kulit shadow puppets featuring Hindu Gods like Arjuna and Kresna (Krishna). These are used to convey stories from the Hindu epic Ramayana. There are also gilt bronze statues from the region, and a seated Ganesa (Ganesh)
This is a very brief description of the cultural treasures of the Tokyo National Museum. A visit to Tokyo would be incomplete without one to that fabulous museum.

Visited July 2013
1 Thank Hormuz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 5 Contributor
62 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Thumbs Up!”
Reviewed October 12, 2013

I'm not usually that enthralled with museums but the Tokyo National Museum was most enjoyable. It's Japan's largest museum and is said to hold the world's largest assortment of Japanese art....pottery, scrolls, kimono's, Buddhist statues, samurai armor and so much more. If you enjoy museums you'll love this one, and even if you're not a fan of them I think you will find something of interest here.

Visited September 2013
Thank flatfeet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 6 Contributor
92 reviews
32 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
“Worth seeing!”
Reviewed July 12, 2013

Nice place to spend a few hours, especially if you happen to get a rainy day. Pleasant walk through the park to get there, and close to the Zoo, and Art Gallery as well.

Visited July 2013
Thank princessbuttercup66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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