close

Download the Official App!

View View

WOW! JAPAN

Nara Buddhist Sculpture Hall (Original Museum Building)

A Treasure Trove of Buddhist Art! A Guide to the Must-See Spots in Nara National Museum

Occupying one corner of Nara Park, the Nara National Museum is a popular spot that you should never forget to visit when you go sightseeing in Nara. This article hopes to present the many charms and attractions of this museum.

What is the Nara National Museum?

The Nara National Museum is a museum that exhibits, stores, and researches cultural assets, centering on Buddhist art. It is comprised of multiple buildings, including the Original Museum Building and the new East and West Wings. The Original Museum Building, completed in 1894, has been designated as a National Important Cultural Property for being the first authentic European-style structure that was built in Nara.

Admission Fees:
*These are fees for the Exhibition from the Permanent Collection only. Admission fees for special or joint exhibitions might require separate fees.
(General admission) 520 JPY (incl. tax)
(College students) 260 JPY (incl. tax)
(Seniors aged 70 years old and above, High school and younger students, Guests aged less than 18 years old) Free

※ Credit cards (Visa, AMEX, DC, DISCOVER, etc.) and China UnionPay accepted

Nara Buddhist Sculpture Hall (Original Museum Building)

What is the Nara National Museum?

50 Noborioji-cho, Nara-shi, Nara

Nara Buddhist Sculpture Hall (Original Museum Building)

At the Nara Buddhist Sculpture Hall (Original Museum Building), nearly 100 Buddha statues, including national treasures and important cultural assets, are on display. Most of these are Japanese Buddha statues from the Asuka period (around 592 – 710) to the Kamakura period (1185 – 1333). It is popular as the exhibition facility with the most extensive list of Buddha statues among all the museums in Japan.

Nara Buddhist Sculpture Hall (Original Museum Building)

Nara Buddhist Sculpture Hall (Original Museum Building)

50 Noborioji-cho, Nara-shi, Nara

Ritual Bronzes Gallery

The Ritual Bronzes Gallery that is linked to the Nara Buddhist Sculpture Hall (Original Museum Building) by a corridor is a place where famous ancient Chinese bronzes from the Exhibition from the Permanent Collection are on display. It handles a collection of more than 380 ancient Chinese bronze pieces, including the You (Wine Vase) with Phoenix Design (11 B.C. – 10 B.C.). There are various types of bronze wares in the collection. Though it consists of mainly bronze containers and musical instruments, it also includes weapons, automotive tools, agricultural implements, and stationery.

You (Wine Vase) with Phoenix Design

Ritual Bronzes Gallery

50 Noborioji-cho, Nara-shi, Nara

New East and West Wings

The next parts of the museum to be introduced are the new East and West Wings that are connected through the central entrance hall. Both wings are used as venues for special events and other exhibitions. The new West Wing holds the Exhibition from the Permanent Collection, which consists of paintings, written materials, handicrafts and archaeological artifacts. Its 1st floor houses a library filled with 300 reference books, such as the Compendium of Art. Everybody is free to view these areas.

New East and West Wings

New East and West Wings

50 Noborioji-cho, Nara-shi, Nara

Hassoan Teahouse

The Hassoan – a teahouse in the central garden of the museum – was originally located in Nara’s famous temple, Kofukuji (built around 1,300 years ago). Constructed in the middle of the Edo period (1603 – 1867), it was moved to the present museum in 1892 in order to serve as a permanent repository for the local area. It is not usually open to the public, but for a limited time during tea parties and events, it can be toured.

Hassoan Teahouse

Hassoan Teahouse

50 Noborioji-cho, Nara-shi, Nara

Aside from the areas showcased in this article, the Nara National Museum also houses shops carrying original goods and history or art-related documents, restaurants that are perfect for taking breaks at, and other spots. Please find the time to visit this museum at least once!

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

Recommended articles for you

Follow WOW! JAPAN
Can't find it in a guidebook? Looking through this app will definitely make you want to go to Japan.
Sightseeing information to make you say "Wow!", updated every day!