The museum's incredible collections and the surrounding Ueno Park are essential to discover the country's rich history.
It is the largest and oldest museum in Japan. It was originally established in 1871 as the museum of the Imperial Household. After its partial destruction in 1923 during the earthquake, the main building was rebuilt between 1932 and 1937. It contains about 100,000 items, but only part of the collection is accessible to the public. The museum covers an area of just over 10 hectares and consists of four large buildings: the Honkan, the centre for Japanese art with sculptures (Nara, Kyōto, Kamakura), ancient fabrics, swords and armour, porcelain; the Heiseikan, an archaeological building for Japanese prehistory; the Tōyōkan, offering a gallery of oriental art from Southeast Asia, the Pacific, Korea and China, or Mediterranean countries, and finally the Hōryūji Homotsu Kan which houses the works of the Hōryūji, the famous temple founded by Prince Shōtoku Taishi near Nara, and masterpieces from the Asuka period. This last part is incredible! It contains sculptures, bronze statues, masks, textiles, paintings and metal objects. Another room, Hyokeikan, houses temporary exhibitions. Of the four buildings, the most interesting for non-specialists is surely the Honkan. The world's largest collection of traditional Japanese art is housed in this imperial architectural den. Between different buildings and temporary exhibitions, it's impossible to see everything at once, but it remains a must-see during your stay in Tokyo!
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