Kyoto National Museum

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The main hall of the Kyoto National Museum.
  • Established: 1889
  • Japanese: 京都国立博物館 (Kyouto kokuritsu hakubutsukan)

The Kyoto National Museum is one of four National Museums in Japan, along with ones in Nara, Tokyo, and Dazaifu (Kyushu).

Located on the eastern side of the Kamo River, near Shichi-jô, the museum features Japanese, Chinese, and other East Asian art and artifacts. It traces its history to the first modern museum founded in Kyoto, established in 1875, and housed in a rice storehouse on the grounds of the Kyoto Imperial Palace. That museum, operated by Kyoto Prefecture, closed in 1883, but its collections were moved to a new building, which later become the Kyoto Imperial Museum. The idea of a system of Imperial Museums was established in 1889, and the Kyoto Imperial Museum, designed by Katayama Tôkuma, was completed in 1895 in a French Baroque style.[1]

The museum was renamed the Kyoto Imperial Household Museum in 1900, and then in 1924, in connection with the wedding of the Crown Prince, it was renamed the Kyoto Museum. Finally, the museum was renamed the Kyoto National Museum in 1952, and control of the museum was transferred to the Agency of Cultural Affairs.


  1. Francis D.K. Ching, et al, A Global History of Architecture, Second Edition, John Wiley & Sons (2011), 699.