Kyoto Museums Walking Tour, Kyoto (Self Guided)

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 culture of one of the most powerful and refined nations of the world.
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Kyoto Museums Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Kyoto Museums Walking Tour
Guide Location: Japan » Kyoto (See other walking tours in Kyoto)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 5
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 km
Author: emma
National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto

1) National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto

The National Museum of Modern Art Kyoto popularly known by the acronym, MOMAK is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of 20th century Japanese art. The unique architecture of the building housing the museum has made it a popular tourist attraction in Kyoto.

The National Museum of Modern art in Kyoto was first established as an annex of the Modern Art Museum in Tokyo. The present site was once the Kyoto Municipal Exhibition Hall for Industrial Affairs. MOMAK occupied the building from 1963. The entire building was given to the museum in 1967. In 1984, the old building was torn down and the present structure designed by Fumihko Maki was constructed. The Museum was opened for public viewing once again in 1986.

The National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto has four floors and a basement. Contemporary works of Japanese and international artists are on display. One can view both Japanese style Nihonga paintings and western style Yoga paintings at the museum. There are also collections of sculpture and objects made of ceramics, bamboo, metalwork, lacquer and jewelry. Notable works are paintings by the French master, Matisse, the Japanese artist, Ryuzaburo Umehara and ceramic sculpture by Kawai Kanjiro. The Museum also holds temporary themed exhibitions of contemporary art. Most of the signs in the museum are in Japanese but there are pamphlets in English that visitors can follow to take a self guided tour.

Opening hours: Tuesday-Thursday,Sunday: 9:30 am – 5:00 pm; Friday-Saturday: 9:30 am - 8 pm.
Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art

2) Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art

The Kyoto Municipal Museum of art was established to commemorate the coronation of the Showa Emperor in 1928. It is the second largest public art museum in Japan.

The Kyoto Municipal Museum was opened to the public in 1933. It was first called the Showa Imperial Coronation Art Museum of Japan or the Kyoto Enthronement Memorial Museum of Art. It was housed in a European style brick building with Palace like proportions. After the Second World War, the occupation forces took over the building temporarily. A new annex was added in the year 2000 to provide additional exhibition space. From the date of its inauguration the museum has steadily increased its collection through donations and purchases.

The Kyoto Municipal Museum has a vast collection of paintings, sculpture, graphic art, photographs and prints. All works on display relate to Japan and the city of Kyoto. Most of the works were created after the Meiji era. The museum hosts art lectures, seminars, workshops and art related programs. Temporary exhibitions are also held and some display the works of international artists. The Museum also holds special exhibitions like the Kyoten Exhibition and the Nitten Exhibition annually. It stays open from Tuesdays to Sundays and is closed on Mondays and public holidays.

Opening hours: Tue-Sun: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Hosomi Museum

3) Hosomi Museum

The Hosomi Museum is a private museum that displays a collection of Japanese art and artifacts. The exhibits were collected by renowned Osaka based Japanese industrialist, Hosomi Ryo.

The Hosomi Museum was founded in March 1998. The building was designed by O.E Tadasu and has three floors above the ground and two below. The design won the 40th Building Contractors Society Architecture Prize. The museum conducts a daily tea ceremony in the Kokoan Japanese Tea room in the same building. There is an Art Cube shop selling museum replicas, souvenirs and books. Visitors can also get Japanese and Italian fare at the restaurant of the Museum called Café Cube.

The collection of Hosomi Ryo consists of over 1000 works of art from all periods and almost all categories. One section of the Museum is dedicated to figurines found in tombs and Buddhist ceremonial tools. There is also a large collection of narrative scrolls from the Muromachi period. The decorative arts section has a wide large of lacquer objects from different periods in Japanese history. The Museum also has the best collection of Rimpa art in the world. The Rimpa artistic technique combines Yamato e painting with ink painting methods. Art related seminars, lectures and special exhibitions are held at the museum to promote traditional Japanese Art.

Opening hours: Tuesday - Friday,Sunday: 10 am – 6 pm; Saturday: 10 am - 8 pm.
The Museum of Kyoto

4) The Museum of Kyoto

The Museum of Kyoto is dedicated to the history of the city from pre historic times to the present. It is housed in a building that was once the Kyoto branch of the Bank of Japan.

The Museum of Kyoto is housed in a western style building that was the typical architecture of the age after the Meiji Restoration. The tea room at the museum was once a large safe belonging to the Bank of Japan. The first floor has many restaurants and shops and the information center. The permanent exhibits displayed in the second floor are dedicated to the history and culture of Kyoto. The arts and crafts of Kyoto are displayed on the 3rd floor. There is also a film archive and movie theater here. The 4th, 5th and 6th floors are used for temporary and special exhibitions and the offices of the museum are on the 7th Floor.

Interesting exhibits at the museum are architectural models of traditional buildings, shrines, temples and markets of Kyoto. The film gallery has many Japanese classic films from silent movies to movies made about 20 years ago. Japanese movies are screened twice a day at the theater from Thursdays to Sundays every week.

Opening hours: Tue-Sun: 10:00a.m.- 7:30p.m.
International Manga Museum

5) International Manga Museum

Manga is the Japanese word for comics and print cartoons. The International Manga Museum is dedicated to the preservation of comics, cartoons and animation.

The Museum was established by the Kyoto Seika University in collaboration with the City of Kyoto. It is housed in the former Tatsuike Elementary School; the buildings and land were donated by the City and it is managed by the University. A joint committee consisting of University officials and members of the City Government oversee its management. The Museum has over 200,000 items donated by individuals and corporations.

The International Manga Museum houses a large collection of Japanese Manga and international comics. The exhibition explains the development of Manga as an art, its origin, different drawing techniques and tells about well known characters and artists. The museum is divided into a gallery zone, a research space, a collection zone, the permanent exhibition area, a space for special exhibits, a museum shop and a Kissaten or Japanese style coffee shop. There is a Manga wall that holds 40,000 books and magazines. Some interesting exhibits are Meiji era magazines, an early Japanese edition of the Punch Magazine, the first Japanese Manga magazine called Eshinbun Nihonchi and the first children’s Manga magazine in Japanese, called the Tokyo Pakku.

Opening hours: Thursday-Tuesday: 10:00 am – 5:30 pm

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.
Souvenir Shopping Part 1

Souvenir Shopping Part 1

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: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.9 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
Ukyo-ku Walking Tour

Ukyo-ku Walking Tour

Ukyo-ku is one of the eleven wards of Kyoto and it comprises the northwestern corner of the city. This area contains a large number of important religious complexes, some of them listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The most famous attractions of Ukyo-ku in Kyoto are selected and described in the next walking tour. So check it out and enjoy your Kyoto adventure.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 8.7 km
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
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
Higashiyama Area Walking Tour

Higashiyama Area Walking Tour

Kyoto is a city made for tourists, especially the ones with love for history, interest in religion and, of course, Japanese culture. Many of Kyoto's attractions are located in the eastern part of the city, which, in turn, is split into wards. One of them is the Higashiyama Ward, home to several famous temples of Kyoto, as well as the popular Gion geisha district. To find out more about...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.3 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...

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Kyoto for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Kyoto has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes

To save yourself time and money visiting Kyoto's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as the Kyoto-Osaka Sightseeing Pass or Kyoto Subway & Bus Pass and Hankyū Tourist Pass.

A city pass combines all or multiple Kyoto's (and even neighboring Osaka's) top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows user to skip lines at major attractions, thus saving precious time.

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels

Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Kyoto hotels conveniently located for a comfortable stroll: Mitsui Garden Hotel Kyoto Shijo, Karaksa Hotel Kyoto I, Nagi Kyoto Shijo.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Kyoto, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours

We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, though, as a guided tour of Kyoto typically costs somewhere between US$30 and US$120 or more per person:

- Pedal your way around Kyoto on a 3-hour bike tour visiting the city's most spectacular sights, stopping at each of them for a bit of rest, watching the surroundings, and learning much about this glorious city from an informative group leader.

- Brace yourself for a full-day of walking to discover Imperial Kyoto in its full splendor on a 9-hour sightseeing tour exploring the city's temples, palaces and ancient shrines. This tour is ideal for those on a short visit to Kyoto, keen on seeing as much of its rich cultural heritage as possible in a single go.

- Another good chance to absorb Kyoto's atmosphere within a shortest possible time is a half-day guided tour embracing all of the city’s top highlights: UNESCO-listed castle, temples and Imperial Palace sights.

- Discover what makes Japanese culture so refined and unique on a cultural walk in Kyoto. Follow a knowledgeable local guide to savor the beauty and charm of this ancient yet elegant city wandering through its Zen gardens, visiting shrines and temples, as well as catching a glimpse of its kimono-clad geishas and more.

- Acquaint yourself with Kyoto’s food culture, its history and taste, at a 400-year-old “Kyoto's Kitchen” market fit to agitate anyone's taste buds with the plethora of unique dishes on offer. Explore the surroundings, including the famous Gion district, for a chance of spotting real-life geishas and other local peculiarities!

- Attend a traditional tea ceremony in Kyoto to perceive its sophisticated philosophy with the help of a local guide who will translate your questions, if any, addressed to the master about this fascinating part of Japanese culture.

Day Trips

If you have a full or half day to spare whilst in Kyoto, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations like Hiroshima and Miyajima Island, Nara, Himeji Castle and Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, or northern Kyoto prefecture. For as little as as circa US$70+ to US$350+ per person you will get a chance to discover highlights of the UNESCO World Heritage sites, see majestic shrines, including some of Japan's oldest Buddhist temples, celebrated memorials, prominent parks and other historic treasures. For any of these tours you will be picked up either straight from your hotel or a designated place in Kyoto, and transported either by a comfortable air-conditioned coach, minibus, train, boat, or a private vehicle (whichever is applicable) to the destination of your choice and back again.