Japan’s oldest comprehensive museum
Ueno Park is a place of rest for many people where they can chat on the benches while viewing the fountains as it is covered in the blossoms of cherry trees in spring and the lush greenery of summer, while boats sail in the pond. Within the park, there are many important facilities all over. Along with a theater, an art museum, a zoo and a science museum, there is the Tokyo National Museum which has a collection of cultural assets that numbers over 110,000 items within a huge area. Since its establishment as The Museum Department within the Ministry of Education in 1872, it has preserved and displayed cultural properties from Asia mainly centering on Japan. It is a museum representing the nation that has extremely valuable assets of scale and quality including 89 National Treasures and 639 Important Cultural Properties (as of September 2017).
On the 1st floor of the Japanese Gallery, there are exhibits by genre of fine works of art including sculptures, metalwork, lacquerware, pottery and swords. On the 2nd floor, there is earthenware which predates Christ, Haniwa figurines, the Buddhist art of the Asuka and Nara periods, the Imperial Court culture of the Heian period, the Zen Buddhism and literature during the age of the samurai, the armor of the Warring States Era, and the utensils of the tea ceremony. The culture of Japan which has matured with the passage of time is displayed in an easily understood way alongside the actual artifacts.
In the Gallery of Horyuji Treasures, numerous valuable artworks are on display as a collection of ancient 7th and 8th century that had been dedicated to the Imperial household from Horyuji Temple in Nara and then transferred to the Tokyo National Museum. Also, at the Asian Gallery that was renovated in 2013, art, decorative arts and archeological artifacts from across Asia including China, the Korean peninsula, Southeast Asia, India and Egypt are displayed.
One day is not enough to see everything there. However, even if you are not a fan of Japanese art, visiting this museum will deepen your knowledge of Japan more than ever. Get the feeling from the real thing about the culture and sense of values which matured and blossomed through the changes in the lifestyle and generations of the Japanese people.