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Tokyo National Museum Tour: A Guided Crash Course

Enrich your understanding of Japanese art and history with a museum expert
From US$232 privately
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Tour Details
2 hours
Product Type
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
72 Reviews (4.81)

Reviews can only be left by Context customers after they have completed a tour. For more information about our reviews, please see our FAQ.

Aquiles was a superb guide: knowledgeable, friendly, adapting to my interests and enriching my experience of the museum and of Japanese history as told through art, architecture and artifacts. He is the best guide ever!
This tour was valuable, interesting, and fun. Our guide was outstanding, providing a unique and easy to understand framework for understanding Japanese culture not just on this visit, but throughout our trip to Japan. The National Museum is massive and could be completely overwhelming. Thanks to our guide, we had a wonderful experience and learned a lot.
Rafael spent the first 30 minutes of our tour in the most engaging conversation about Japan, its history, people, culture, art and architecture and the geographic layout of Tokyo. We were back in University, conversing with our favorite professor. From that point on, the hundreds of pieces at the National Museum clicked into place. He also provided us a very powerful walking tour map that showed us other first hand examples. He is passionate about his research, work, the architecture, art, culture and the people of Japan - and will take you on a very interesting conversation and journey.