Take a breather while enjoying old Asian art
In Tokyo, there is Minami-Aoyama which attracts the most refined and fashionable people.
Nezu Museum is located at the back of a street which has all of the high-brand stores such as Cartier and Chloe. A long straight corridor reminiscent of a bamboo forest will take you into the museum where you will experience a tranquil and gentle space. The museum is an urban art gallery where you can appreciate old Asian art while relaxing.
It is here that old works of art from Japan and Asia collected by industrialist Kaichiro Nezu Sr. (1860-1940) have been preserved and displayed. Nezu, who had a deep interest in old art since his youth, moved his headquarters from his home in Yamanashi Prefecture to Tokyo whereupon he not only ran a railroad company but also participated in politics and education to much success.
At that time, he devoted himself to study of the tea ceremony which spurred him on to collect art works, and it is said that the collection was superb. Afterwards, Nezu declared in his will that his possessions would not only be enjoyed individually but “enjoyed with a large number of people”, and so in 1941, Kaichiro Nezu Jr. opened this collection for display to the public. This was the beginning of the Nezu Museum.
In 1945, a majority of the museum including galleries and the tea room had been burned down in the war, but was rebuilt in 1954. Following that, there were further additions and restorations which has given rise to its current structure.
The collection consisted of 4643 works at the time of the museum’s opening, but with the purchase of further artifacts and philanthropic donations, there are now 7414 works including 7 National Treasures, 87 Important Cultural Properties and 94 Art Treasures. There is a wide range of antiquities of many genres such as paintings, writings, sculptures, ironworks, pottery, lacquerware, woodworking, dyeing and weaving, and weaponry. As well, there is an important collection of tea utensils.
The museum consists of 6 galleries whose gigantic collection sometimes changes as exhibits are switched in and out. It’s best to check on the day of your visit since the museum is closed for 2 weeks during the period of change. The yearly exhibition schedule and the days of operation are listed on the homepage so it’s good to check it prior to your visit.
The Nezu Museum is not only known for its exhibits but also for its beautiful Japanese garden.
There are examples of stonework on the large undulating grounds of the garden, and there is a countryside tea house and a house situated there where you can relax. Small birds chirp among the flowers and trees throughout the four seasons, and it would be nice if you can spend a tranquil time while appreciating the sound of the water in the pond.
There is a café in the garden where you can have a light meal and drinks while viewing the lovely landscape. Since matcha tea and a seasonal menu of Japanese confections are available, why not give them a try?
The museum is a place where you can have a soothing time on those days off in the city.