Japan Folk Crafts Museum

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The main hall of the Nihon Mingeikan
  • Established: 1936
  • Japanese: 日本民藝館 (Nihon Mingei kan)

The Japan Folk Crafts Museum, or Nihon Mingei-kan, is a museum in the Komaba/Shibuya neighborhood of Tokyo, dedicated to the display of works of folk crafts (mingei). It was established in 1936 by Yanagi Sôetsu, founder of the Mingei Movement, who also designed both the main building of the museum and its galleries, and a residence across the street, completed a year earlier (1935), in which Yanagi made his home until his death in 1961.

The museum building (as well as Yanagi's residence, now known as the West Hall) is built in a modern style, but with traditional-seeming aesthetics throughout, drawing much inspiration from the Arts & Crafts Movement active in the West at that time. The facade is in white plaster, with grey tile roofing, and the interior is chiefly of dark wood, all designed by Yanagi very much with the Mingei aesthetic and philosophy in mind.

The collection consists of some 17,000 objects from across Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Okinawa, various parts of Africa, and elsewhere in the world,[1] and includes ceramics; lacquerwares; textiles; and pieces in bamboo, straw, wood, and stone; among others. The gallery labels offer minimal explanation or description, as Yanagi believed objects could, and should, speak for themselves.

While most of the museum buildings date to the 1930s, the West Hall (formerly Yanagi's private residence) features a gate originally built in Tochigi prefecture in 1880. While the main museum is open to visitors during normal business hours most days of the week (Tues-Sun, 10-5), the West Hall is only opened on the second and third Wednesday and Saturday of each month.


  • "Nihon Mingeikan General Information & 2017-2018 Exhibition Schedule," pamphlet available on-site.
  1. Including some 1,430 Okinawan objects. Nitta Setsuko, "Oppression of and Admiration for Okinawan Textiles: Commercial Items and Art Objects," Okinawan Art in its Regional Context symposium, University of East Anglia, Norwich, 10 Oct 2019.