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Museum of the Imperial Collections

Tokyo

See the collection of rare works of art and craft passed down through successive generations of the Imperial family.

Located in the East Garden of the Imperial Palace, the Museum of the Imperial Collections boasts a collection of about 9,500 works of art and craft, including paintings and calligraphy, that have been passed down through successive generations of the Imperial family.

In 1989, after Emperor Showa passed away, the Imperial family donated 6,500 works of art to the nation and construction of this facility commenced in 1992, to provide a place where they could be managed, stored, and researched, as well as being displayed to the general public. The works went on display in 1993.

Bequests to the nation made by the late Princess Chichibu in 1996, the late Empress Kojun in 2001, and the late Princess Takamatsu in 2005 are also housed in the Museum of the Imperial Collections.

The artifacts in the collection are managed by the Imperial Household Agency, so they are not designated as National Treasures or Important Cultural Properties, but they include many rare works of art such as the Moko Shurai Ekotoba (Illustrated Account of the Mongol Invasion), which was drawn during the Kamakura period (1185-1333), and Chinese Lions, by Kano Eitoku, a prominent painter during the Momoyama period, during the 1500s, whose name cannot be left out of any history of Japanese art.

Moreover, the collection also encompasses works by such remarkable artists and craftsmen as Wang Xizhi, an aristocrat who was also lauded as an accomplished calligrapher, who lived in the 300s, during China's Southern and Northern Dynasties period. In addition, there are ornaments by the sculptor Takamura Koun, and paintings by leading modern Nihonga (Japanese-style painting) artists including Yokoyama Taikan and Uemura Shoen. You could well encounter such precious masterpieces when you visit.

Information

Address: The East Gardens of the Imperial Palace, 1-1 Chiyoda, Chiyoda-Ku, Tokyo
Phone: 03-3213-1111 (the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace)
Hours open to visitors: 09:00-16:15 (admission until 16:00). Closing time differs according to season of the year.
Admission Fee: Free
Closed: Mondays and Fridays (or the following day if Monday or Friday is a national holiday other than the Emperor's Birthday)
Directions: 5 minutes on foot from Otemachi Station on the Tokyo Metro Subway

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