Tokyo National Museum Tour: A Guided Crash Course

Enrich your understanding of Japanese art and history with a museum expert
From US$238 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
52 Reviews (4.73)

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

Jefferson was really knowledgeable and easy to understand. It was a great tour and when I first looked at my watch we had reached the end of our time together. Well worth doing.
Rafael was an excellent guide, and we really enjoyed his tour. His explanations helped how foreign people understand Japanese culture or religion from a non-Japanese point of view. We really appreciate this opportunity. Thank you very much.
We had an excellent tour with Tetsu! His depth and breadth of knowledge of Japanese history and culture has given us a perfect introduction to a three week tour of Japan. He pivoted easily from periods of history to works of art and was responsive to questions about current Japanese culture. Tetsu also graciously offered to guide us to the beautiful Horyuji Gallery in Ueno Park.