Tokyo National Museum Tour: A Guided Crash Course

Enrich your understanding of Japanese art and history with a museum expert
From US$228 privately
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Tour Details
Duration
2 hours
Product Type
Tour
Venues
Tokyo National Museum
Photos & Highlights
  • Learn about Japan's rich culture in Tokyo National Museum tour
  • Led by an expert in Japanese art and history
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Tour Description
This two-hour tour of Tokyo's National Museum, led by a Japanese art expert or historian, provides a deep dive into Japanese culture and history. Located in the beautiful Ueno Park, the 1872 National Museum houses one of the largest and most impressive collections of objects, sculptures, and paintings related to Asian art and archeology, with a particular focus on Japan. From samurai swords to kimonos, this fine collection tells the story of the history of Japan through its art. Together, we'll explore and discuss a number of the national treasures, touching on some of the 110,000 individual items dating from the earliest years of civilization on the Japanese islands, all the way through to the Edo period and modern day.

Tokyo National Museum Tour

While Tokyo National Museum is split into numerous collections, the majority of our focus on this tour will be on the Japanese Gallery. We will use the museum’s Meiji paintings, splendid screens, ancient scrolls, and intricately carved woodblocks to cover themes that range from the importance of visual arts in daily life to tea ceremonies and religious traditions.

Multiple Paths

Our course through the museums can take many forms, depending on the specific interests of the group: we let the itinerary be shaped by which eras and styles of Japanese art the group is most interested in, as well as the specialization and proclivity of our guide. We'll dig deeply into a number of art forms that are foreign to the west but hold great significance in Japan, in the process developing a context for deeper appreciation.

Take Aways

At the end we'll emerge from our time together with a better understanding of Japanese art and its relation to the larger sphere both of Japanese and Asian culture and history. For a look at Japanese aesthetics in a more contemporary context, try our Introduction to Tokyo tour.
For more information about Context tours, please visit our FAQs.

Is it okay to tip my guide in Japan?
Yes. Context clients generally tip anywhere from 10-25% of the purchase price of a personal service such as this, depending on the quality of the experience and their tipping habits.

Do exhibits change over time?
The exhibits change once a month, so each experience is different, as is the main theme of the visit. Due to the fragile nature of most Japanese art, the museum cannot leave them out for longer periods. 
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Where You'll Start
(4.81) 78 Reviews

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Angel was a terrific guide. He has an amazing wealth of Japanese history which he kindly shared with us. It was a pleasure having him navigate the National Museum with us.
My wife, Betty, and I could not have selected a better tour for our introduction to Japanese culture. Rafael provided a very detailed lecture before we began our tour sharing various aspects of Japanese history and the influence of specific foreign cultures on Japanese society. This provided a tremendous framework as we visited the artistic works in the Honkan. Rafael's enthusiasm and expertise were greatly appreciated. We cannot rate the experience highly enough. Five stars all the way!
María gave us a comprehensive overview of the Tokyo National Museum of Art! She was very kind and helped us plan for the rest of our day in Tokyo. Thank you, Maria!