Tokyo National Museum
Trip Start Jan 02, 2013
70Trip End Mar 17, 2013
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I wasn't sure what to do for my last day in Japan. I decided to go to the Tokyo National Museum, which was relatively close to my hotel. The weather was nice and it was a pleasant walk to the museum. When I bought a ticket I noticed that the closing time was 5:00, not 6:00 as given in my guidebook. I was going to have to rush through.
The museum is split between several buildings, two of which were closed for renovation work. I had bought a ticket that included entry to the temporary exhibit called Enku's Buddhas: Sculptures from Senkoji Temple and the Hida Region. I didn't want it to get near closing time and realize I hadn't gone through the temporary exhibit yet so I figured I'd see it first. I headed for the Heiseikan building, which was labeled on their guide as containing Japanese Archeology and Special Exhibitions. I guess they didn't think the temporary exhibit was very special since it wasn't in that building. The second floor was closed as they set up another exhibition and there were only exhibits on the first floor. I went through them and headed out.
Next I went to the Honkan building, which is shown on their map as the Japanese Gallery but in my guidebook is referred to as the Main Gallery. I found the temporary exhibit on the first floor. I went through it first. It had many wood sculptures that were all carved by the same famous Japanese sculptor, Enku. I can't say I was impressed by the work.
The rest of the first floor contained a variety of Japanese artworks. There were rooms of sculpture, lacquerware, metalwork, swords, ceramics, modern art and modern decorative arts.
I headed for the second floor, which is pretty much an introduction to Japanese art history. Their collection includes works from the early Jomon period through the Edo period. I was sorry I had to rush though the exhibits so quickly.
I went to the Toyokan building next, which contains non-Japanese Asian art. Most of the works are either sculpture or decorative arts. Like most museums in Japan this one has Route signs to direct you through the collection but unlike most I still found this one a bit confusing to navigate. I eventually decided I had seen it all and moved on. Again, I wish I had had more time.
The last building I went to was The Gallery of Horyuji Treasures. It doesn't have that many works and one room is contains several dozen similar statues. I went through it fairly quickly and was out of the museum by closing time.
I headed back to the hotel and started packing for my trip home tomorrow.