Nara National Museum

Description: 

Located in the precinct of Nara Park compared with a storing space of Buddhist history in Nara Prefecture, Nara National Museum is not simply a Buddhist value like other constructions around including Todaiji temple and Kofukuji temple but a place of keeping, preserving and developing the most outstanding religion in Japan. The point is that why the museum can be a national one when all it reflects is just a side of Japanese culture. Actually, it is not an opponent point but completely proving the importance of Buddhism in the spirit life in Nara Prefecture in particular and in all over Japan in general. Buddhism is strong enough to cover all the different fields of arts and crafts, leaving a huge number of exhibitions inside the museum.

nara_national_museum_welcomekansai

Source: Nara National Museum

Not having a specific appearance of ancient temples, the museum still gets a unique solemn atmosphere surrounding the whole structure. Nara National Museum was built in 1894 with two main parts of Nara Buddhist Sculpture Hall and Ritual Bronzes Gallery. Nara Buddhist Sculpture Hall is a brick building following French Renaissance style, designed by the designer of the Imperial Household Agency Katayama Tokuma. The Hall now are keeping most complete collection of Buddhist sculptures called Masterpieces of Buddhist Sculptures from the Permanent Collection with numerous sculptures from the Asuka and Kamakura period along with Chinese sculptures. Connecting with Nara Buddhist Sculpture Hall by a corridor, Ritual Bronzes Gallery is younger as it was built in 1937 as a storehouse, housing Sakamoto Collection of ancient Chinese bronzes.

nara_national_museum_welcomekansai

Source: Nara National Museum

The structure has a pair of wings linking to each other by the central entrance hall to help to protect the grandiose exhibition. While the East Wing holds special exhibitions and the Annual Exhibition of Shosoin Treasures, West Wing displays exhibits of paintings, written materials, decorative arts and archeological artifacts. Besides, the structure also includes a Buddhist Art Library, a Conservation Center and the Hassoan teahouse.

nara_national_museum_welcomekansai

Source: Nara National Museum

Special exhibition will be held only once a year while the Feature exhibition takes place twice a year. Exhibition from the Permanent Collection are held more regularly inside the Nara Buddhist Sculpture Hall, the Ritual Bronzes Gallery and the West Wing. Exhibitions are different treasure groups of different periods of time of different subject. Visitors can also enjoy some exhibitions displaying valuable statues and other Buddhist items moved from the nearby Todaiji and Kofukuji temple. The museum will complete your journey around the Nara park area to fully discover the world of Buddhism in Nara prefecture.

Open time: 
From 9:30 am to 5:00 pm (Last admission at 4:30 pm)
On Fridays from April to October, the fourth Saturday of January, February 3rd, March 12th, from August 5th to 15th and December 17th: from 9:30 am to 7:00 pm (Last admission at 6:30 pm) 
Admission: 
Adult: 520 yen
College Student: 260 yen
High School student and younger: Free
How to access: 
From Kintetsu Nara Station: take a 15 minute walk along Noborioji Street east to the museum
From JR Nara Station or Kintetsu Nara Station: take the City Loop Bus No.2 then get off at Himuro Jinja or Kokuritsu Hakubutsukan stop.