Where would you go if you want to see the National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties of Japan? Start from Tokyo National Museum in Ueno Park. Particularly Main Building specializing Japanese arts gives you a clue before visiting temples, museums in historical cities such as Kyoto, Nara and Kamakura. It is just like you are given crash course of Japanese Art History. Particularly seeing Koun Tamakura's masterpiece sculpture "Roen(Old Monkey)" in your own eyes is quite an experience. With the entrance fee of 600 yen you can visit all the building except Heiseikan which has the space for Special exhibits. To visit major regular exhibits even two hours is not enough. Also great is some of the "open air" exhibits outside the museum such as Black Gate, or tea houses in the Japanese garden open only spring and autumn seasons.
Japanese Garden of Tokyo National Museum is often referred to as "the Secret Garden". Indeed. It's hard to believe it is a part of Tokyo. When I entered the garden it was part 3 p.m. the garden was getting dark because the Main Building was blocking the sunlight. It was like the afternoon view in the countryside before sunset. The garden was formerly the part of Kan'eiji Temple and at the location of present Main Hall of the museum stood the Main Hall of Kan'eiji temple. Looks like we've been seeing the light and shadow of pre-war Imperial Japan. Historical tea houses were moved to this garden maybe just like Sankeien Garden in Yokohama. The garden is open to public only during cherry-viewing season and autumn leaves season. The garden was still not the best season yet that did not ruin the value of this garden. The only concern was ducks in the pond seemed to be a bit too overpopulated. I do not know if they can feed on their own.
The Tokyo national musuem is world class museum, but a bit on the small side. Admission price is 600 Yen. The entrance fees includes 4 buildings. 1 of them is presently being renovated, so that building is closed. The main building has tons of ancient Japanese articles. We spent about 2 hours here and saw in a non rushed way. A must do when in Tokyo.
There are many museums located in Ueno park and the Tokyo National Museum is one of those that you could pay a visit with a small fee.
There was already a long queue when we arrived. Loads of tourist are getting ready to enter the Tokyo National Museum.
The Japanese collection are kept in the central Honkan building. It exhibits the finest of Japanese art including paintings, calligraphy, sculptures, Imari ware, swords, armor.
The Heiseikan building is the newest of the 5 main buildings of the Tokyo National Museum. It houses the relics found from archeology findings from all over Japan.
This is a picture of the Honkan, the Japanese Gallery. In the Honkan I saw some beautiful examples of Japanese Art. I particularly liked the illustrated sutras and the lacquer work ( I had no idea that lacquer used to be called "Japan" the same way porcelin is still called "China" ). I wish though that I had photos from the Heiseikan, the archaeology building. There they particularly had Haniwa sculptures from Kofun era tombs. You look at them and you realize that they're 1500 year old kawaii! :-)