Kyoto National Museum 京都国立博物館
Across the street from Sanjusangendo Temple is the Kyoto National Museum.
The original Kyoto National Museum was built by the Imperial Household in 1897 as a safe repository for artifacts from Kyoto's temples and shrines and now houses over 2,000 Japanese artifacts from prehistoric times up to the modern era.
The one-story western-style brick building, which is now the Special Exhibition Hall, has a slate roof and was designed by Japanese architect Tokuma Katayama. The building is designated as an Important Cultural Property in its own right.
The two-story Collections Hall dated from the 1960's and housed the museum's core collections in the two above ground floors and basement. This building underwent reconstruction and was replaced by a new building in 2014, the Heisei Chishikan Wing designed by Japanese architect Taniguchi Yoshio.
Highlights of the Kyoto National Museum's huge collection include Buddhist images such as rare pieces from Gandhara and the Heian Period, ceramics including haniwa figurines from the Kofun Period of the 6th century, paintings by Sesshu, Maruyama Okyo, the Kano School of artists as well as Chinese art works, calligraphy attributed to both Japanese and Chinese masters, textiles from Japan, Persia and other countries, priceless lacquerware and metalwork (swords, lanterns and armor).
The Kyoto National Museum now also stages regular special exhibitions. The gardens of the Kyoto National Museum also contain various historical stone exhibits.
The Kyoto National Museum has a shop and the pleasant, glass Karafuneya Cafe situated at the South Gate.
The grounds of the Kyoto National Museum contain two gardens: the East Garden and the West Garden. The East Garden has sculptures from Korea and a traditional Japanese tea house - Tan'an - while the West Garden displays early stone Buddhas, foundation stones and bridge posts.
A statue of the "The Thinker" by Auguste Rodin and water fountain stand in the Water Fountain Garden.
Kyoto National Museum
Tel: 075 541 1151
Open: 9:30am - 5:00pm. (Enter by 4:30pm); closed Monday unless a public holiday
Admission: 500 yen for adults
Getting to the Kyoto National Museum
Access: From Kyoto Station, walk to bus platform D2 in front of the station. Take city Bus #206 or #208 to "Hakubutsukan Sanjusangendo-mae." If you are taking the Keihan Railway, get off at Shichijo Station. Walk east along Shichijo Street about 5-7 minutes.