Kyoto National Museum, Kyoto

Kyoto National Museum, Kyoto (must see)

The Kyoto National Museum (KNM) is dedicated to displaying pre-modern Japanese arts and crafts. It is one of the three museums in Japan that is owned and maintained by the Imperial Family.

The KNM is housed in a building designed by architect Katayama Tokuma. It was opened for public viewing in 1897. A new building with display halls, designed by Morita Keiichi was added to the existing facility in 1966. The Museum has over 12,000 objects of which 6,000 are on display. More than 230 objects that belong to the museum have been declared National Treasures or Important Cultural Properties.

The Kyoto National Museum is divided into three sections. The fine arts section consists of sculpture, paintings and Japanese calligraphy. The Handicrafts section has pottery, textile, metalwork and lacquer work. The archeology section has objects obtained from excavations in different parts of the country. Notable collections and objects are the largest collection of artifacts from the Haien Era, a collection of rare ancient Chinese and Japanese Sutras, the Senzui Byōbu or landscape screen from the 11th century and the Gakizōshi or scroll of the hungry ghosts from the 12th century. The Museum also hosts special themed exhibitions from time to time.

Why You Should Visit:
To make better sense of what you may see in the temples, shrines, and public spaces of the unique and ancient city of Kyoto.
The exhibits are well-curated; the artifacts & artwork are displayed so as not to be overwhelming, and the English descriptions are cogent & understandable.
There is an audio tour available for 500 yen.

Tip:
No photo-taking is allowed in the galleries – you aren't even allowed to use smartphones to text or take notes.
Don't miss the small outdoor path that winds through some sculptures and cultural artifacts, however.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 9:30am-5pm; admission ends 30min before closing

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of Kyoto, Japan within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Kyoto National Museum on Map

Sight Name: Kyoto National Museum
Sight Location: Kyoto, Japan
Sight Type: Museum/Gallery
Guide(s) containing this sight: Higashiyama Area Walking Tour  

Walking Tours in Kyoto, Japan

Create Your Own Walk in Kyoto

Create Your Own Walk in Kyoto

Creating your own self-guided walk in Kyoto is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Kita-ku Temples and Shrines Tour

Kita-ku Temples and Shrines Tour

Kita-ku is one of Kyoto's wards, located in the northern part of the city. Kita Ward contains some spectacular religious sites, such as the famous Golden Pavilion and the ancient Daitoku-ji Temple, as well as a museum dedicated to world peace. Find them all selected and described in the next self-guided tour.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.5 km
Philosopher's Path Area Walk

Philosopher's Path Area Walk

Tetsugaku no Michi, or Philosopher's Walk, is a well-known route in Kyoto which starts at the famous Ginkaku-ji Temple and heads south to the Nanzen-ji Temple. It follows a stone path by a cherry-tree-lined canal that was once walked daily by Nishida Kitaro, a famous philosopher and professor at Kyoto University. The Philosopher's Walk passes by some major shrines and other places of...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 km
Kyoto Museums Walking Tour

Kyoto Museums Walking Tour

Even though Kyoto is famous for its wide variety of religious sites, this city is the home of several museums as well. The majority of them are dedicated to Japanese culture, ranging from history to fashion and the arts. A large number of Kyoto's museums are located in its eastern areas, where the next self-guided tour is about to take you. Check it out and prepare to get an insight into the...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 km
Souvenir Shopping Part 2

Souvenir Shopping Part 2

It would be a pity to leave Kyoto without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Kyoto, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 km
Central Kyoto Walking Tour

Central Kyoto Walking Tour

They say visiting Japan without seeing Kyoto is worthless, because a visit to Japan will never be complete without knowing Kyoto's treasures. A city of tradition, history, and culture, Kyoto has plenty of touristic spots to offer. The next walking tour takes you to the core of Kyoto and the main attractions of the city that are located in its central area. Enjoy!

Tour Duration: 4 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 8.5 km
Walking Tour in Shimogyo Ward

Walking Tour in Shimogyo Ward

The ancient capital Kyoto embraces several aspects of Japanese culture, being packed with shrines, temples, museums and other interesting spots. Each ward of this city boasts its own cultural heritage, as does the Shimogyo area, located right in the heart of Kyoto. Discover Shimogyo's most popular attractions in the next self-guided tour.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.7 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


18 Japanese Products To Bring Home from Kyoto

18 Japanese Products To Bring Home from Kyoto

The old capital of Japan, the city of Kyoto has once again been the talk of the world lately, thanks to the bestselling "Memoirs of a Geisha" book and the namesake Hollywood blockbuster movie. Renowned for its impeccable craftsmanship, Japan has so much to amaze a foreign eye with. Many of...