Kyoto Museums

(Kyoto, Kansai, Central Honshu, Japan)

Photo of the National MuseumAs one of Japan's cultural capitals, Kyoto is home to some of the most culturally significant collections in the country, being housed in a number of prominent local museums. From Japanese history exhibits to intricate antique ceramic, traditional weaving techniques to ink paintings, all aspects of Kyoto's colourful past can be explored in its museums.

For those looking for a rest from history displays, the Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum provided a boozy alternative, while for local history, the Kyoto National Museum is hard to beat. The city's main museums are detailed below.

Different view of the National Museum

Kyoto National Museum

Address: 527 Chayamachi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, 26 605-0931, Japan, JP
Tel: +81 075 541 1151
Housed within two buildings close to the Sanjusangen-do, the Kyoto National Museum is brimming with historical relics and artefacts. Founded in 1897, this important attraction has become known for its cultural exhibits, which include ancient handicrafts, archaeological finds, ceramics, sculptures, textiles, calligraphy, fine arts, lacquerware and more besides, with over 200 items being officially classified as National Treasures.
Open hours: Tuesday to Sunday - 09:00 to 17:00
Admission: charge, free admission on special open days

Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum

Address: 247 Minamihama-cho, Kyoto, 26, Japan, JP
Tel: +81 075 623 2056
Situated in an area that is primarily known for sake production, visitors can learn about the process and tools involved in the spirit's manufacture at Kyoto's Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum. Containing a collection of more than 6,000 pieces of sake-making equipment, these items are now considered to be cultural assets. Perhaps the highlight of the tour, however, is the sampling session at the end, after which you can wobble your way through the nearby streets, passing a wealth of historic 19th century buildings along the way.
Open hours: Tuesday to Sunday - 10:00 to 16:30
Admission: charge

Picture of the Ryozen Museum of History

Ryozen Museum of History

Address: 1 Ryozen-cho Seikanji, Kyoto, 26 605-0861, Japan, JP
Tel: +81 075 531 3773
An analysis of the Meiji restoration and its impact on Japanese history, this interesting museum provides comprehensive accounts of the pivotal events that led to the basis of modern-day Japanese government values. Interactive videos, displays of memorabilia and fascinating exhibitions combine to make a visit to the Ryozen Museum of History worthwhile, being within easy reach of Kyoto city centre. Situated at the base of Ryozen Mountain, where more than 3,000 persons related to the Meiji restoration are enshrined, the museum helps to foster an understanding of modern day Japanese culture and politics.
Open hours: Tuesday to Sunday - 10:00 to 16:30
Admission: charge

Jotenkaku Museum

Address: 701 Shokoku-ji Monzen-cho, Kyoto, 26 602-0898, Japan, JP
Tel: +81 075 241 0423
This stunning collection of Zen masterpieces were produced by monks with the support of Ashikaga patronage. Dating from the Muromachi era (1333 to 1568), works at the Kyoto Jotenkaku Museum include ink paintings and exceptional ceramics from the Ming Dynasty era (1368 to 1643). The highlight of the museum is 'Monkeys in a Bamboo Grove' by the Japanese master Tohaku Hasegawa, although visitors can also appreciate dozens of other paintings, which demonstrate the distinctively Japanese style of Hasegawa and students of his painting school.
Open hours: daily - 10:00 to 16:30
Admission: charge

Orinus Museum

Address: 693 Daikoku-cho, Kamidachiuri-agaru, Jofukuji-dori, Kyoto, 26 602-8482, Japan, JP
Tel: +81 075 431 0020
Celebrating the city's traditional fabric dyeing and weaving techniques used in making handmade obis, the Orinus Museum offers a fascinating insight into the great work that goes into making these beautiful costume accessories. Nearby buildings contain handlooms and workshops, where weavers continue to work to this day, still practicing these traditional methods. Also on-site is a souvenir shop where you can pick up kimono accessories, obis and literature, while a tearoom serves refreshments and completes the main attractions.
Open hours: Tuesday to Sunday - 10:00 to 16:00
Admission: charge