Translated by Shinji Takaramura
6 Museums In Ueno Park Where You Can Enjoy Art And History In Japan
The many museums in Ueno Park are a great way to experience art, culture, and history in Tokyo. Learn about what to see at the renowned six facilities of the park, including the National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo National Museum, and more.
Written by Mako Hayashi
Visit Ueno Park's Six Museums - Art and Culture in Tokyo
Ueno, located in Taito Ward of Tokyo, is a part of the historical downtown of the city. One of Ueno's most famous places is the expansive Ueno Park, Japan's first public park. If you are looking for art, history, and culture as well as nature Tokyo, head to Ueno Park and its six museums for a day of education and entertainment.
This article introduces the six museums located in the park: the National Museum of Nature and Science, the Tokyo National Museum, the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, the Ueno Royal Museum, the National Museum of Western Art, the Shitamachi Museum.
All of these facilities are sure to delight visitors both young and old, and many do not require Japanese language ability to enjoy, making for a great day trip in Tokyo.
1. National Museum of Nature and Science
The National Museum of Nature and Science is the only national science museum in Japan and is located right in the middle of Ueno Park. It is an interesting learning facility with an extensive collection of biology and geology-related displays from around the world.
Here you can browse the Japan Gallery, a multi-level permanent exhibit that introduces the nature and anthropological history of the Japanese islands. The museum also has a state-of-the-art spherical projection theater and hosts special exhibitions. After or during your visit, stop by the restaurant area for some refreshments.
There are multi-lingual descriptions for the exhibits, and audio guides in English, Chinese, and Korean are also available. The National Museum of Nature and Science has something entertaining for all ages, making this an ideal spot for families and those traveling in groups.
2. Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum
The Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum is known for its permanent exhibits dedicated to open-air sculptures and calligraphic works by Japanese artists, as well as special displays of works from internationally-renowned artists, like Monet and Munch. We recommend definitely checking the special exhibits first when making a visit.
The museum contains five levels in total and also has a restaurant and restaurant inside, so you can spend a comfortable half day here, taking in both Japanese and global art.
3. Tokyo National Museum
The Tokyo National Museum is a large, renowned museum with diplays traditional Japanese works of art, including paintings, sculptures, and ancient artifacts. Started official in 1857 in the Meiji period, it is considered the oldest museum in Japan and contains around 117,000 items on display. This number includes many national treasures and culturally-important artifacts.
In addition to the extensive permanent exhibits, the temporary and seasonal exhibits are also worth seeing. As it is a large facility with a few different buildings, the museum is full of things to see. Plan to some time here--if you want to browse leisurely, you will likely not be able to see everything in one day. There are also two restaurants where you can snack on a light refreshment or meal during your visit.
This is a great destination for anyone interested in learning about the fine arts and history in Japan. English explanations and audio guides are available as well to ensure a great visit.
4. Ueno Royal Museum
Ueno Royal Museum is known for its important cultural exhibitions and hosting of contemporary art exhibitions, and exhibitions with works solicited from artists. The special exhibitions change here regularly--popular are the Ueno Royal Museum Grand Prize Exhibition, VOCA Exhibition, and the Japanese Nature Painting Exhibition, which show pieces from award-winning Japanese artists.
This is a relatively small museum compared to the rest of the facilities in Ueno Park. Visitors with little time can drop in here for around an hour of art and entertainment.
5. National Museum of Western Art
As its name suggests, the National Museum of Western Art exhibits an impressive collection of Western art, from the end of the medieval period to the beginning of the 20th century. It is a large museum with impressive architecture, where you can spend around half a day, gazing leisurely at paintings, sculptures, and other artwork.
The collection includes Impressionist paintings and modern French sculptures, from artists such as Degas and Rodin, making it a must-see for any curious art lover.
Special exhibits of various content are also regularly held. Displays from internationally-renowned figures like architect LeCorbusier and artist Picasso have been shown.
6. Shitamachi Museum
Head to the Shitamachi Museum if you are looking for a museum on the social history of Tokyo. The shitamachi, or older part of Tokyo associated with the working class, covers the eastern city areas, like Ueno and Asakusa. This museum offers a rare chance to learn about Tokyo's past and the way residents lived in the Taisho period.
Focused on educating guests about the old way of life in Tokyo, changed and devastated by earthquakes and war throughout history, the museum features faithfully reproduced rooms and shops of the 1920s and older. You will feel you've been taken back in time when browsing the facility and noticing the details in every corner. The second level contains informative displays and historical artifacts.
Visit the Museums in Ueno
There are various types of museums in Ueno Park--enough to satisfy your every curiosity. There is too much to see in one day, but visiting a museum that interests you will surely make for an exciting day in the park.