Situated in the heart of the cultural district of Ueno, Tokyo National Museum is a treasure chest of ancient and modern Japanese art. Even as one of the largest art collections in the world, Tokyo National Museum is much more approachable than, say, the Louvre. We didn’t experience long lines at the entrance, nor did we experience sticker shock (cough, cough, Louvre). Entrance to Tokyo National Museum costs only 620 yen (approximately $5.50), and children may enter for free.
Photography is permitted sporadically throughout the Museum; photographs of some of the finest artifacts are not allowed. Magnificently beautiful, life sized, ancient wood sculptures decorated in gold leaf? No photos. Stunning ancient calligraphy scrolls? No photos. The rule made me smile, because the extraordinary depths of Japanese art culture make bald promotion completely unnecessary. Art aficionados curious about ancient Japanese art will have to travel, and won’t find samples slapped on garish posters sent to far away lands (cough, cough, Louvre) to lure them in. Once inside, foreign visitors are quite welcome; careful explanations of most pieces are available in multiple languages.
Here is a small sample of the other treasures we were able to enjoy:
Our afternoon even included a few moments near the beautiful outdoor gardens behind the Tokyo National Museum:
If you find yourself in Tokyo, I hope you take a few hours to explore Tokyo National Museum. The world is small… Have big fun!