Important Cultural Properties
- System Established: 1950
- Japanese: 重要文化財 (juuyou bunkazai)
In 1950, the Japanese government created a new system of cultural heritage, dividing the category of National Treasures - the top tier of sites and objects designated as being of exceptional cultural and historical importance - into an upper tier of National Treasures and a lower tier of Important Cultural Properties.
Important Cultural Properties are more numerous than National Treasures, and are generally considered to be of somewhat less considerable cultural or historical importance. There are currently approximately 12,821 objects & structures registered as Important Cultural Properties, identified by the Bunkachô (Agency for Cultural Affairs) logo, a stylized impression of a pair of hands holding up roof tiles.
Selected List of Important Cultural Properties
- Sankeiden Shrine at Entsû-in
- Shima teahouse, Higashi Chayagai, Kanazawa - example of geisha house / teahouse machiya architecture
- Agency for Cultural Affairs (Bunkachô):
- Bank of Japan: Old Building
- Eisei Bunko:
- A bronze Buddhist sculpture from the Liu Song dynasty, dated 437
- Haseo sôshi - a Kamakura period painting depicting the story of the Heian period figure Ki no Haseo
- Kuroki neko - a painting of a black cat by Hishida Shunsô, which appeared in the 4th Bunten competition in 1910
- Letter from Emperor Go-Fukakusa to Emperor Fushimi (1292)
- A porcelain jug decorated with peonies, from the Southern Song Dynasty
- Suit of armor (yoroi) said to have been worn by Hosokawa Yoriari in battle in 1358.
- Holy Resurrection Cathedral
- Idemitsu Museum of Arts:
- Ikegami Honmonji - Pagoda (1608)
- Kan'ei-ji - Eikyûin Mausoleum, Chokugakumon (imperial scroll gate), water basin (suibansha)
- Kiyomizu Kannondô (Ueno) - Main Hall
- Meiji Gakuin University: Imbrie Pavilion (rep. of Meiji Western-style missionary architecture)
- Mitsui Corporation Main Building (Mitsui honkan)
- National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo:
- Nezu Museum:
- Nezu Shrine - shrine buildings
- Seikadô Bunko Art Museum:
- Sensô-ji Nitenmon gate - downgraded from National Treasure in 1950
- Tokyo Imperial Palace:
- Former Outer Sakurada-mon (gate) of Edo castle
- Former Shimizu-mon (gate) of Edo castle
- Former Tayasu-mon (gate) of Edo castle
- Tokyo National Museum:
- Azekura storehouse of Jûrin-in, Nara
- Gate of the Inshû-Ikeda Residence
- Kyôgen mask of Ebisu, from the Ôkura school
- Liang Kai - hanging scroll painting of Li Bai
- Lu Ji - set of four hanging scrolls, "Birds and Flowers of the Four Seasons"
- Ma Yuan (attr.) - hanging scroll, "The Priest Dongshan Wading Across a Stream"
- Ogata Kôrin - Fûjin/Raijin screen paintings
- Painting on Zen Enlightenment, panel paintings from hôjô of Daisen-in, attr. Kanô Motonobu
- Sakai Hôitsu - Screen paintings of Spring and Autumn Flowering Plants
- Shi Ke (attr.) - pair of hanging scrolls, "Two Patriarchs Harmonizing Their Minds"
- Sun Junze (attr.) - hanging scroll landscape
- Unkoku Tôgan - landscape, pair of folding screen paintings
- Various 16th-17th century artworks and artifacts related to the Society of Jesus and Japanese Christianity.
- Yan Hui (attr.) - pair of hanging scroll paintings of Hanshan and Shide
- Zhu Duan - hanging scroll, "Solitary Angler on a Winter River"
- Tokyo University of the Arts:
- Ueno Tôshôgû: Main Hall, Karamon gate, other buildings; stone torii; and fifty copper lanterns
- University of Tokyo:
- Akamon ("Red Gate"), former gate of the Kaga Edo mansion (Hongô campus)
- Former Maeda Family Main Residence (Komaba campus)
- Daimyôji monjo, records of Daimyô-ji temple in Ôsumi province (held at Shiryôhensanjo)
- Gumaiki, diary of Sanjô Sanefusa, and Go-Gumaiki, diary of Sanjô Kintada (held at Shiryôhensanjo)
- Documents related to the Hayashi clan (held at Shiryôhensanjo)
- Documents related to the Hishijima family of Satsuma province (held at Shiryôhensanjo)
- Jien oshô musôki, a diary of the monk Jien (held at Shiryôhensanjo)
- Documents related to Kondô Jûzô (held at Shiryôhensanjo)
- Minkoku sappu, a Ming document granting official office to Maeda Gen'i (held at Shiryôhensanjo)
- Nakanoin ipponki, a diary of Nakanoin Michifuyu (held at Shiryôhensanjo)
- Namu Amida butsu sazenshû, diary of the monk Chôgen (held at Shiryôhensanjo)
- Documents related to the Nikaidô clan (held at Shiryôhensanjo)
- Sappan kyûki zatsuroku (held at Shiryôhensanjo)
- Satsuma no kuni Hioki Hongô shimoji chûbun ezu, a 14th c. Kyushu map (held at Shiryôhensanjo)
- Shôshû shibun, a 1556 document sent by Ming envoy Jiang Zhou regarding the wakô (held at Shiryôhensanjo)
- Shûgaishô (medieval encyclopedia, held at Shiryôhensanjo)
- Sanetaka kôki, diary of Sanjônishi Sanetaka (held at Shiryôhensanjo)
- Taiki, diary of Fujiwara no Yorinaga (held at Shiryôhensanjo)
- Diary of Uwai Kakken (held at Shiryôhensanjo)
- Wakamanajoshû (collection of prefaces to waka poetry collection, held at Shiryôhensanjo)
- Waseda University: Ôkuma Auditorium
- Zôjô-ji: Sangedatsumon sanmon gate; Taitokuin mausoleum gate; Yûshôin mausoleum Nitenmon gate
- Kenchô-ji Butsuden (main Buddha hall)
- Gekkaden, formerly of Fushimi castle, built 1603 by Tokugawa Ieyasu
- Pagoda - formerly of Tômyô-ji, Muromachi period, oldest pagoda in the Kantô
- Rinshunkaku - summer home for Kishû Tokugawa family head Tokugawa Yorinobu, 1649, Wakayama
- Shunsôrô tearoom built by Oda Urakusai
- Former main hall of Tômyô-ji, Muromachi period, Kyoto
- Sôgen-ji, Twelve Heavenly Generals (Kamakura period sculptures, representative of Unkei's style)
- Former Yokohama Specie Bank Headquarters - example of Meiji period architecture
- Nagoya castle - the three remaining corner towers, of an original eleven
- Tokugawa Art Museum:
- Hikone castle - various buildings, including Ninomaru Sawaguchitamon-yagura and stables (umaya). Main tenshu is a National Treasure.
- Hôshû-kai, Takatsuki Town - various documents and paintings associated with Amenomori Hôshû
- Kasuga Shrine:
- Kôfuku-ji Numerous sculptures, incl. Seated Amida Nyôrai sculpture - Kamakura period
- Byôdô-in - Yôrin'an shoin, moved to the Byôdô-in from Fushimi castle in 1601
- Clarke Memorial Hall at Dôshisha University
- Daitoku-ji Shinju-an - various paintings, works of calligraphy, etc. including works of calligraphy by Daitô Kokushi.
- Former Kyoto Prefectural Headquarters (1904)
- Ginkaku-ji - entire complex; includes two buildings designated as National Treasures.
- Honpô-ji - two portraits by Hasegawa Tôhaku of Buddhist priests
- Kôdai-ji - various buildings, incl. Shigure-tei tea room
- Manpuku-ji - various buildings
- Nanzen-ji sub-temple Tenju-an:
- 32 fusuma paintings by Hasegawa Tôhaku, self-portrait of Daimin-kokushi, self-portrait of Shôichi-kokushi, portrait of the priest Heiden, and two portraits of Hosokawa Yûsai and his wife
- Sanbô-in - Gienjugô nikki
- Shimogamo Shrine - 53 various objects.
- Mikaeri Amida sculpture
- Painting of sixteen Arhats (ink & colors on silk, Kamakura period, Important Cultural Property)
- Painting of the raging sea on gilded paper, by Hasegawa Tôhaku (hatô-zu)
- Painting of Shaka Trinity by Kanô Motonobu (colors on paper)
- Painting of Shaka and Ten Disciples, attr. Zhang Sigong (color on silk)
- Painting of Amida and Twenty-Five Bodhisattvas raigô
- Painting of Amida Trinity (Kamakura period)
- Painting of Buddha entering Nirvana (nehanzu, ink and colors on paper)
- Painting of Yakushi nyorai (ink and colors on silk)
- Painting of Shaka and 16 good gods (Shaka 16 zenjin-zô)
- Painting of Ten Worlds (colors on silk)
- Painted door of 25 bodhisattvas raigô
- Taima Mandala (1262)
- Taima Mandala (c. 1213-1218)
- Yûtsû nenbutsu engi by Tosa Mitsunobu (colors on silk)
- Yûtsû nenbutsu engi kanjinchô (colors on paper)
- Osaka City Museum of Fine Arts:
- Abuto Kannon (Fukuyama)
- Fushimi yagura (tower) and Sujigane-gomon (gate) at Fukuyama castle.
- Ôta family house (former Nakamura family house) and Chôsôtei lodgings in Tomonoura; merchant home where Ryukyuan embassies to Edo, various daimyô, and kuge stayed at times.
- Uwajima castle: tenshu
- Kôchi castle: a number of buildings, including the tenshu, Kaitokukan (shoin-zukuri style daimyô residence), East and West tamon yagura, Kokutetsu-mon, Kurogane-mon, and Roka-mon gates.
- Ichi-no-torii at Hakozaki Shrine, 1609
- Letters from Nguyen Hoang to Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1591) and Tokugawa Ieyasu (1601), Kyushu National Museum
- Three bronze mirrors held at Nitta Hachiman Shrine, Satsumasendai
- Main Building (honkan) at Shôkoshûseikan, 1865
- Photograph of Shimazu Nariakira by Ichiki Shirô, 1857, Museum of the Meiji Restoration
- Red-threaded suit of armor and helmet of Shimazu Tadahisa, Tsurugane Shrine
- Tachi by Bizen-no-kuni Jûunji, Tsurugane Shrine
- Aragaki house and agari-nu-gama pottery kilns in Tsuboya, Naha
- Bridge of Nations Bell - collection of the Okinawa Prefectural Museum
- Engaku-ji - named a National Treasure in 1933; destroyed in 1945. Rebuilt gates and bridge named Important Cultural Property in 1975. Former temple bell (cast c. 1495-1496), and a 1697 recreation of that bell both survive and have both been designated.
- Documents and objects related to the Ie udun family. Designated in 2019.
- Ie udun tomb, Shuri
- Collection of Kamakura Yoshitarô's photographs from his survey of Okinawan arts; held by Okinawa Prefectural University of the Arts.
- Magiri-zu maps, held by Okinawa Prefectural Museum
- Mekaru tombs group site (incl. Izena dunchi tomb, near Shintoshin Park, Naha)
- Nakamura House in Nakagusuku Village
- Sôgen-ji - designated a National Treasure in 1933; destroyed in 1945. Surviving stone walls & gates are today an Important Cultural Property.
- Gallery labels and explanatory plaques at various sites.
- Pamphlets available on-site.
- "Cultural Properties for Future Generations," Pamphlet, Agency of Cultural Affairs (2013), 2.
- Hyung-il Pai, AAS Roundtable, "Who Moved My Masterpiece?...Cultural Heritage of Kyoto," Association for Asian Studies annual conference, San Diego, March 23 2013.
- While the Freer piece seen here is permanently housed outside of Japan, and is therefore not an Important Cultural Property, an earlier version of the same work, held today by the Tokyo University of the Arts, does bear that designation.
- Exhibition checklist, "Chinese Paintings from Japanese Collections," LACMA, May 10 2014.
- Imbrie Pavilion, Meiji Gakuin University website.
- Chôsen tsûshinshi to Okayama, Okayama Prefectural Museum (2007), 67-68.
- Chôsen tsûshinshi to Okayama, 34.