The Kyoto National Museum is the best museum in Kyoto. The permanent collection is mediocre and indifferently displayed, but the special exhibits regularly held here are often superb.
The Thinker statue in Kyoto National Museum: twoKim images / Shutterstock.com
You’ll think we’re mad when we declare that the Kyoto National Museum is the finest museum in all of Kyoto. That is, until you visit when the museum is holding one of its brilliant special exhibits. All the great names in Japanese art eventually make their way here, from Jakuchu to Hiroshige, and they’re invariably displayed to brilliant effect, with excellent bilingual commentary. Just keep in mind that Kyoto is a city of art lovers, and if a big show is one, avoid the opening days and weekends.
In September 2014, the spectacular new Heisei Chishinkan wing of the museum opened, allowing far more of the permanent collection to go on display in state-of-the-art surroundings.
527 Chaya-machi, Higashiyama-ku
9.30am-6pm, last entry 5:30pm
9:30am-8pm, last entry 7:30pm Friday
Closed Monday & the following Tuesday when Monday is a national holiday
Extra for special exhibitions
Non-smoking area: Yes
In front of Sanjusangendo-mae Bus Stop, Kyoto City Bus 100 or 206 from Kyoto Station
10min walk from Shichijo Station, Keihan line
Official Website (English)
Where Is This Place Located?See these places on our Kyoto Google map:
- Open the Kyoto map
- You will see the list of places on the left hand side. (Click the 3-line icon in the top left corner if not). Scroll down or use the map search (the magnifying glass icon) to find the place you want.
- Click the name of the place in the list. Its location pin will be highlighted on the map.
- Map pins are color coded - BLUE: Hotels | VIOLET: Ryokan | PINK: Places to Eat | YELLOW: Things to See and Do
- If you're using the map on your phone, open the map and then search for the name of the place. The map will then zoom in on its location.
Near To Here:
Kyoto National Museum is located in Kyoto’s Southern Higashiyama district. See our complete list of things to do in Southern Higashiyama, including places to eat, nightlife and places to stay.
Kyoto Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Kyoto guide
- Check Kyoto accommodation availability on Booking.com - usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too.
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Kyoto
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Buy a data-only SIM card online for collection when you arrive at Kansai International Airport (for Osaka and Kyoto) or Tokyo's Narita Airport. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router.
- Compare Japan flight prices and timings to find the best deals
- If you're visiting more than one city, save a ton of money with a Japan Rail Pass - here's my explanation of why it's worth it
- A prepaid Icoca card makes travelling around Kyoto easy - here's how.
- Get travel insurance for Japan - we recommend World Nomads (and here's why)