The Best 7 Museums You Must Visit in Kyoto

Kyoto is known for numbers of temples and shrines but is also a city full of fine museums. If you are interested in arts, antiques, ceramics, and history of Japan, Kyoto is the place you must visit. This article will introduce the best 7 museums in Kyoto. You may discover something new about Japan by exploring these finest museums.


1. Kyoto National Museum

1. Kyoto National Museum
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The Kyoto National Museum was opened in 1897 and is one of the major art museums in Kyoto. The museum focuses on Kyoto’s cultural assets mainly from the Heian period to the Edo period, and some of exhibitions include Registered Tangible Cultural Property. This Museum also features a large variety of important and cultural collections, such as thematic exhibitions of paintings, sculptures and ceramics, as well as beautiful gardens, fountains and gates.

The Kyoto National Museum facilitates a museum shop and a restaurant. It is a perfect place to search for history and culture of Kyoto. The special exhibitions and seasonal exhibitions are held regularly, and it is recommended to check their schedule in advance.

■Information
Name: Kyoto National Museum
Address: 527 Chaya-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto
Museum Hours: 9:30 ~ 17:00 (Fridays & Saturdays 20:00)
Closed: Mondays
Admisions: Adult 520yen, University students 260yen
Access: 7 minutes by walk from Shichijo station of Keihan train
Website: http://www.kyohaku.go.jp/

2. Kahitsukan – Kyoto Museum of Contemporary Art

2. Kahitsukan - Kyoto Museum of Contemporary Art
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Kahitsukan is a contemporary art museum located in Gion, Kyoto. The name of this museum, Kahitsukan, was named to indicate that things may not always be as you are led to believe. It was also named to hope for a liberty of thoughts against preconceived belief.

Kahitsukan is on the busy street, but you will be surrounded by a completely different atmosphere once you are inside. The Kahitsukan collection features Japanese paintings from Kagaku Murakami, oil paintings from Kaoru Yamaguchi, and works in various fields of arts and crafts from Rosanjin Kitaoji. There is a wide variety of exhibitions of contemporary paintings, arts and crafts, and pictures of domestic as well as foreign artists. Kahitsukan is highly recommended especially if you like contemporary art.

■Information
Name: Kahitsukan – Kyoto Museum of Contemporary Art
Address: 271 Kitagawa, Gion, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto
Museum Hours: 10:00 ~ 17:00
Closed: Mondays
Admisions: General 1,000yen, Students 800yen
Access: 3 minutes by walk from Keihan Shijo station
Website: http://www.kahitsukan.or.jp/

3. Shigureden

3. Shigureden
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“Ogura Haykunin Isshu” is Japanese classical literatures passed on since the Heian period. The “ogurayama” is said to be the place where one hundred poems are chosen and written on cards. Shigurenden is the only museum of Hyakunin Isshu and located in the Arashiyama area. At Shigureden, you can explore the world of Hyakunin Isshu through valuable karuta cards, 100 dolls of the master poets, dioramas reproducing sceneries of poets, and so on.

Shigureden is the museum that you can see, feel and learn about Hyakunin Isshu. You can even try a costume from the Heian era and take a souvenir photo for free. If you are in Kyoto, you should visit Shigureden and explore the culture of historic Hyakunin Isshu.

■Information
Name: Shigureden
Address: 11 Sagatenryuji-Susukinobabacho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto
Museum Hours: 10:00 ~ 17:00
Closed: Mondays
Access: 15 minutes by walk from JR Saga-Arashiyama station
Website: https://www.shigureden.or.jp/

4. Kyoto International Manga Museum

4. Kyoto International Manga Museum
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Kyoto International Manga Museum is a must visit museum especially if you like Japanese manga and anime. Kyoto International Manga Museum is a joint project of the city of Kyoto and Kyoto Seika University. There are approximately 300,000 collections of manga books and related materials at this museum.

The exhibition includes magazines from the Meiji period, books from a post-war era, and modern popular publications from Japan and abroad. Even if you are not familiar with manga, you can learn all about it, including its history and social influence, and popular artists from all over the world, at the “What is Manga?” exhibition.

Kyoto International Manga Museum offers many interesting exhibitions and events. For example, at the “Manga Studio”, you can actually watch professional artists create manga. The “Portrate Corner” is a place where artists make your portrait either in the original touch or anime style.

You can also enjoy a traditional story telling performance with picture cards at the “Kamishibai” performance corner. Please check their schedule and time if you want to participate. After exploring Kyoto International Manga Museum, please enjoy shopping at the museum shop. You will find a variety of items related to their collections. Kyoto International Manga Museum is one of the must see museums in Kyoto to know and explore about Japanese manga culture.

■Information
Name: Kyoto International Manga Museum
Address: Karasuma-Oike, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto
Museum Hours: 10:00 ~ 18:00
Access: Take Exit 2 at the Karasuma Oike station, then walk 50m to North on the Karasuma street from the Karasuma Oike crossroad.
Website: http://www.kyotomm.jp/

5. Japan Kanji Museum and Library

5. Japan Kanji Museum and Library
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Kanji is an important element of Japanese culture, and the Japan Kanji Museum and Library is the place where you can learn about Kanji while having fun. The Kanji museum opened in 2016 at the center of Gion, Kyoto. There are many interactive activities through games and visual effects, and the museum is enjoyable for children to adults.

Japan Kanji Museum and Library is also known for a house of the “Kanji of the Year” display. The “Kanji of the Year” is a huge work of calligraphy to describe each year in a single Kanji character. The museum will be a fun place to learn about Japanese Kanji culture.

■Information
Name: Japan Kanji Museum and Library
Address: 551 Minamigawa, GIon-machi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto
Museum Hours: 9:30 ~ 17:00
Access: 5 minutes walk from Exit 6 at the Gion-Shijo station
Website: http://www.kanjimuseum.kyoto/

6. Kawai Kanjiro Memorial Museum

6. Kawai Kanjiro Memorial Museum
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Kawai Kanjiro Memorial Museum used to be a private house of Kanjiro Kawai, ceramic artist from the Taisho to the Showa period. The house, composed of a private residence area and ceramic studio, is kept as they were in Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, and it is converted into a museum.

You feel like entering someone’s private home when visiting Kawai Kanjiro Memorial Museum. Kanjiro’s art works are displayed as a part of his house rather than exhibitions of museum. This hideaway museum is a unique place to visit and recommended to explore more about Kyoto.

■Information
Name: Kawai Kanjiro Memorial Museum
Address: 569 Kanei-cho,Gojozaka Higashioji Niiiru, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto
Museum Hours: 10:00 ~ 17:00
Access: 5 minutes walk from Keihan Shimizu Line Gojo station
Website: http://www.kanjiro.jp/

7. Hanbey Fu – Bento Box Museum

7. Hanbey Fu - Bento Box Museum
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Hanbey Fu – Bento Box Museum is located on the second floor of the historic 320 years old store specializing in fu. Fu is made out of wheat gluten and used in a variety of traditional Japanese dishes. This museum is filled with a nice collection of beautiful bento boxes that many of them are from more than 140 years ago. There are about 150 bento boxes on a display, and you may be surprised to see their unique design and shape.

You can also learn the process of fu making and the history of Hanbey Fu on the first floor. All these collections at Hanbey Fu – Bento Box Museum is free for a visit. You should definitely visit Hanbey Fu – Bento Box Museum to enjoy the tradition and the beauty of Japanese culture.

■Information
Name: Hanbey Fu – Bento Box Museum
Address: 433 Shonincho, Tonyamachi-dori Gojo-sagaru, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto
Museum Hours: 9:00 ~ 17:00
Admisions: Free
Access: 5 minutes walk from Keihan Shimizu Line Gojo station
Website: http://www.hanbey.co.jp/

Let’s enjoy Kyoto’s great museums!

Kyoto offers many interesting and unique museums. This article introduces only some of the most interesting museums in Kyoto, and there are more fine museums that you can see and feel Japanese culture. Let’s enjoy exploring museums in Kyoto and find your favorite.

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