• Naoko Mikami

A Guide to Kyoto Museums


The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto

(京都国立近代美術館)

Location: Sakyo-ku, Kyoto


The Collection Gallery exhibits selected works of nihonga (Japanese-style painting), yōga (Western-style painting), prints, sculpture, crafts (ceramics, textiles, metalworks, wood and bamboo works, lacquers and jewelry) and photography from the museum collection. Also shown are outstanding and monumental works of modern art in Japan, as well as modern and contemporary European and American art.


Kyoto National Museum

(京都国立博物館)

Location: Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto


The museum was originally built to house and display art treasures privately owned by temples and shrines as well as items donated by the Imperial Household Ministry. Currently most all of the items in the museum are more or less on permanent loan from one of those places. The museum focuses on mainly pre-modern Japanese works (it is said to have the largest collection of Heian period artifacts) and Asian art. The museum is also well known for its collections of rare and ancient Chinese and Japanese sutras. Other famous works include senzui byōbu (landscape screen) from the 11th century and the gakizōshi (Scroll of Hungry Ghosts) from the 12th century.


Hosomi Museum

(細見美術館)

Location: Okazaki, Kyoto


The Museum is based on the collection of the late osaka industrialist, Hosomi Ryo, and features some 1000 works of Japanese art. Notable items include Heian and Kamakura Buddhist/Shinto art, Muromachi ink painting, Negoro lacquer ware and tea ceremony kettles, Momoyama ceramics and cloisonne, as well as Edo painting such as Rinpa and Ito Jakuchu.


Raku Museum

(樂美術館)

Location: Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto


The collection has been formed over 450 years as a resource from which future generations can learn about the techniques and artistry of their forebears enabling them to establish each individual style. The Raku Museum is, in effect, an encapsulation of the essence of the Raku tradition incessant over 450 years.



Kahitsukan Kyoto Museumu of Contemporary Art

(何必館 京都現代美術館)

Location: Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto

Opened in 1981, this private museum locates in the center of Kyoto Gion. A collection of a wide range of works, including modern and contemporary paintings, crafts and photographs from Japan and abroad, centered on works by Kitaoji Rosanjin, a writer who has been active in all fields of arts and crafts. They also have collection of Murakami Kagaku and Yamaguchi Kaoru.


Asahi Beer Oyamazaki Villa Museum of Art

(アサヒビール大山崎山荘美術館)

Location: Oyamazaki-cho


Asahi Beer Oyamazaki Villa Museum of Art exhibits artworks related to the Mingei Movement greatly supported by Tamesaburo Yamamoto, the first president of Asahi Breweries as well as masterpieces from the “Water Lilies” series by Claude Monet, the master of the Impressionist school, and other artworks. Here we present sixty examples from the Museum's collection of approximately 1,000 artworks.


Kiyomizu Sannenzaka Museum

(清水三年坂美術館)

Location: Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto


The Kiyomizu Sannenzaka Museum is the first museum in Japan to take as its permanent collection metalwork, cloisonne, makie lacquerware and Kyoto Satsuma Ware artworks of the late Edo and Meiji period.



Kyoto International Manga Museum

(京都国際マンガミュージアム)

Location: Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto


This museum is a new kind of cultural facility that concurrently performs library functions and museum functions. Manga materials preserved in the museum's collection consist of approximately 300,000 items (as of 2016); from caricature woodblock prints of the Edo period, to magazines of the Meiji, Taisho and early Showa period; as well as books ranging from post-war rental books to modern popular series and publications from abroad.



Nijo Castle

(二条城)

Location: Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto


There are over 3,000 screens in the National Treasure Ninomaru Palace, and 1,016 of those were designated Important Cultural Properties (picture) in 1982. The palace is an important cultural property that conveys the splendor of the Momoyama period(1573-1603). The following screens are not only from the time when the castle was constructed in 1603, but also those newly created by the painting group, the ‘Kano School’, led by Tanyu Kano, of whom were patronized by the shogunate at the time when the castle was greatly renovated in preparation for the emperor Gomizunoo’s royal visit in 1626.



Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art

(京都市京セラ美術館)

Location: Sakyo-ku, Kyoto


This exhibition concerns the Kyoto staging of Japan's largest public juried exhibition, the "Nitten." Established in 5 sections, Japanese-style painting, Western-style painting, sculpture, crafts and calligraphy, the exhibition travels the country and includes 600 works for exhibition, 300 of which are made by Kyoto and Shiga artists.


Byodoin Museum

(平等院鳳翔館)

Location: Uji


In the museum you can find Temple Bell (National Treasure) or Juichimen Kannon (Important Cultural Property), Taishakuten Statue (Uji Cultural Property), Jizo Bosatsu Statue etc. Apart from these, there are also Heian Period (794-1185) gargoyles of Heian Period and many excavated articles.


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