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Kyoto National Museum|Access, Visitor Information, Highlights, Cafe, Lunch Information

Updated: Dec 20, 2023

 "Meiji Ancient City Hall'' exterior

About Kyoto National Museum

The Kyoto National Museum, with its brick Western-style architecture, is located in the Higashiyama area. Nearby is Sanjusangendo, famous for its 1,000 statues of the thousand-armed Kannon (Goddess of Mercy), and the area exudes the elegant atmosphere of Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan. The grounds of the museum are surrounded by lush green gardens, offering an atmospheric view of historical architecture and nature in perfect harmony, making it one of Japan's representative national museums.

The Kyoto National Museum (formerly the Imperial Museum of Kyoto) was established in 1897. Since then, the museum has collected, stored, and exhibited mainly cultural properties related to Kyoto, which was the capital of Japan for 1,000 years from the Heian period to the Edo period, and has also conducted research, education, and dissemination activities related to cultural properties. Also, because of the location of Kyoto, many valuable cultural properties have been deposited by temples and shrines in the surrounding area, and the museum plays an important role in preserving and restoring them, while passing on the valuable works of art to future generations.

In terms of education and dissemination activities, the museum regularly holds events that visitors can easily attend, such as lectures by researchers and workshops by volunteers, in order to deepen their understanding of cultural properties.

The Kyoto National Museum's nickname is "Kyohaku". The museum is a place where visitors can feel a sense of familiarity amidst the weight of history, as evidenced by the sale of goods featuring "Torarin," the museum's official character based on OGATA Korin's work "Bamboo and Tiger," which is in the museum's collection.

Kyoto National Museum Access & Visitor Information


527 Chayamachi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City


075-525-2473 (Telephone service)

Access from the nearest station

Get off at JR Kyoto Station, take city bus No. 206 or 208 from platform D2, get off at Museum Sanjusangendo-mae, and walk shortly.

Opening hours

​9:30-17:00 (Opening hours differ for "Special Exhibitions")


  • Special Exhibitions *Depends on the exhibition.

  • Masterpiece Gallery (regular exhibition): Adults ¥700, College students ¥350 ( ID required )

  • Garden only: Adults: 300 yen, College students: 150 yen ( ID required )

*Free admission for high school students and younger, persons under 18 years old, and persons over 70 years old (proof required).

*Free admission for visitors with a physical disability certificate (*) and one accompanying caregiver.

*Physical Disability Certificate, Medical Care Certificate, Mental Disability Certificate, War Injury and Sickness Certificate, A-bomb Survivor's Health Certificate, Certificate of Recipients of Medical Care for Specified Diseases, Certificate of Recipients of Specified Medical Expenses (designated intractable diseases), Certificate of Recipients of Medical Care for Chronic Childhood Diseases


Mondays (if Monday is a holiday or national holiday, the museum will be open on Monday and closed the following Tuesday), year-end and New Year holidays, etc.


Coin lockers, free Wi-Fi available

Handicapped parking spaces are available.

Wheelchair-accessible ramp at the south gate entrance

Free rental of wheelchairs and baby strollers available

Multi-purpose restrooms are available (with baby chairs and ostomates)


Paid parking is available on Shichijo Street. Show your parking ticket to receive a discount.

Official Web site

Highlights of the Kyoto National Museum


Since its opening, the Kyoto National Museum has inherited works from historic temples and shrines, and its collection is diverse, ranging from archaeological materials, textiles, ceramics, sculptures, paintings, and calligraphy to more than 15,000 items (8,500 items from the museum collection and 6,600 items from the deposited collection).

There are also many national treasures and important cultural properties, including many famous works that everyone has seen in books and educational textbooks. The most representative of these are the Important Cultural Property "Tsuru Shitae Waka-kan" (poem scroll with underpainting of cranes), painted by Sotatsu Tawaraya and calligraphy by HONNAMI Koetsu, and the National Treasure "Wind God and Thunder God'', which was deposited by Kenninji Temple in Kyoto. Also not to be missed is Rodin's sculpture "The Thinker," which is displayed outdoors in the garden.

The works are managed in 13 main categories: Buddhist paintings, picture scrolls, portraits, medieval paintings, early modern paintings, Chinese paintings, calligraphy, sculpture, metalwork, ceramics, lacquerware, textiles, and archaeology.

※Heisei Chishinkan, Exhibition Room 3F-2 *Different from the actual exhibition.

Architecture of buildings

Meiji Ancient City Hall exterior

The museum's symbolic "Meiji Ancient City Hall'' was designed by KATAYAMA Toukuma (1854-1917), one of the pioneers of Japanese architecture, who was active as an architect at the Imperial Court. While incorporating the French Renaissance-Baroque style, the exterior of the building beautifully expresses Japanese delicacy and lyricism. In 1969, the main building, the front gate, the ticket counter, and the sleeve wall were designated as Important Cultural Properties.

*The Meiji Ancient Capital Museum is currently undergoing seismic retrofitting and is no longer on display (as of November 2023).

Heisei Chishinkan exterior

The modern and stylish Heisei Chishinkan contrasts favorably with the Meiji Koshinkan. It was designed by TANIGUCHI Yoshio (1937-), a world-renowned architect who also designed the New Wing of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Gallery of Horyuji Treasures at the Tokyo National Museum. Sunlight streams into the open lobby, creating a calm and bright space.

Heisei Chishinkan grand lobby

Located behind the Meiji Ancient Capital Museum building, the "Tan'an" tearoom is a sukiya-style building that carries on the traditions of the court noble culture of the early Edo era in Kyoto. It can be used for tea ceremonies and other events (reservation required, fee required). The Western-style Technical Reference Building, located in the east garden, was built in the early Showa period (early 20th century) as a warehouse for display items, and was registered as a Tangible Cultural Property of Japan in 2008.

Exterior view of the tea ceremony room "Tanan”

Representative past exhibitions

The museum holds several special exhibitions a year featuring Japanese and Asian art works from a variety of perspectives, in addition to a gallery of masterpieces (regular exhibits) centered on the museum's collection, which offers a sense of Kyoto's culture. The rich collection of exhibits always offers something new and exciting to discover, and attracts many visitors throughout the year.

Special Exhibition "Rimpa: Colors of Kyoto (Miyako)" (2015)

Celebrating the Accession to the Throne: Special Exhibition, Treasures of the Imperial Family (2020)

Special Exhibition " National Treasures of the Kyo (Miyako)-Japanese Treasures to Preserve and Pass on-(2021)

Special Exhibition: The Culture of Tea Ceremony in the Kyo (2022)

The 850th Anniversary of SHINRAN Shonin's Birth: Special Exhibition "Shinran: His Life and Treasures" (2023)

Museum Shop

Museum Shop Kyoto Convenience Store offers a wide variety of museum goods, including postcards, clear files, stationery such as writing pads, caricatures of birds, animals, and humans, catalogs of past exhibitions, and technical books featuring masterpieces of the Kyoto National Museum. The official character "Torarin" is also available for purchase.

Museum Shop

The official character "Torarin"

Opening Hours

  • Regular exhibition period: 9:30-17:00

  • Special exhibition periods: 9:00-17:30

  • Garden only (South gate store only): 9:30-17:00


Museum holidays

Official Website

Cafe and Restaurant Information

Maeda Coffee Kyohaku Branch opened in 2018 as a cafe affi attached with the South Gate, Maeda Coffee founded in 1971 is one of the most representative coffee shops in Kyoto, a city blessed with a rich coffee culture. It is a luxury spot to enjoy a light meal or a drink while admiring the Meiji Ancient Capital Museum, an important cultural asset, and its garden. Since it is available even without a museum ticket, some visitors use it as a break from sightseeing in Kyoto. Popular menu items include "Kyo," a blend of coffee available only at the Kyohaku store, and fluffy egg sandwiches made with Mizuho eggs produced in Kyoto.

Opening Hours

Regular exhibition period: 9:15-17:00

Special exhibition periods: 9:00-17:30

Garden only: 9:15-17:00


Museum holidays



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