Tokugawa Art Museum

Tokugawa Art Museum 徳川美術館

The Tokugawa Art Museum is probably Nagoya's best attraction and should be seen on any visit to the city in conjunction with Nagoya Castle to get an idea of the area's huge importance in Japanese history.

Tokugawa Art Museum, Nagoya, Japan.
The main entrance to the Tokugawa Art Museum and the central courtyard

Tokugawa Art Museum houses the old ruling Owari Tokugawa family's priceless legacy of art and heirlooms, which include byobu screens and paintings by the Kano School and Maruyama Okyu, ceramics, firearms, kimono, maki-e (gold lacquer work), samurai armor, swords and helmets, Buddhist sutras, a Noh stage and theater costumes and the original twelfth-century painted scroll of The Tale of Genji by Takayoshi Fujiwara. The original is kept locked away most of the time but is represented by video and panel displays.

The nine exhibition rooms of the Tokugawa Art Museum are dedicated to the symbols of the samurai warrior (swords, armor and helmets), the tea ceremony, a formal chamber of a feudal lord (daimyo), a recreated Noh theater, personal items and furnishings of the lord, the Illustrated Tale of Genji and three rooms showing special exhibitions.

Interestingly the collection shows the Tokugawa family's love of foreign exotica which included ceramics, furniture and art works from China, Korea and the Ryukyu Islands (Okinawa).

In addition to the main museum, there is a connecting walkway to the Hosa Library containing literary works handed down through the Tokugawa family.

The Tokugawa Art Museum, which dates from 1935, is set in the beautiful Tokugawaen (Tokugawa Garden), which can be visited separately or with a combined ticket. Much of the original residence was destroyed in World War II and only the main gate (Omote mon) and parts of the outer walls survive. The museum is approached through a landscaped open courtyard.

Additional facilities at the Tokugawa Art Museum include a tea lounge and museum shop.

Tokugawa Art Museum, Nagoya, Japan.
Tokugawa Art Museum Entrance Gate
Samurai armor, Tokugawa Art Museum, Nagoya.
A suit of samurai armor on display at the Tokugawa Art Museum in Nagoya, central Japan

Access - how to get to the Tokugawa Art Museum

Tokugawa Art Museum
1017 Tokugawa-cho
Tel: 052 935 6262
Hours: 10am-5pm, closed Monday
Admission: Adults 1200 yen, students 700 yen, children 500 yen
Photography is not allowed inside the exhibition.

From Ozone Station on the Meijo Line of the Nagoya subway and JR Line, walk south about 10 or 15 minutes. Alternatively take a bus from Sakae Bus Station at Oasis 21 bay #3 to Hikiyama or Shiken-ya and alight at Tokugawa-en Shindeki. Meitetsu buses from Nagoya Station also go to the same bus stop.

Tokugawa Ieyasu, Tokugawa Art Museum, Nagoya.
A portrait of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founding father of the Tokugawa shogunate that ruled Japan from 1603 to 1867
Japanese garden, Tokugawa Art Museum, Nagoya.
Traditional Japanese rock garden at the Tokugawa Art Museum, Nagoya

As well as the Tokugawa Art Museum, Nagoya has many fine museums including the Toyota Automobile Museum, a vast Science Museum and several good art museums and galleries.

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