Ueno Park area is very large, and you will find it has a lot to offer, even for the ones who just like to wander! There are 8 or even more museums all inside the Ueno Park area, and each of them covers a different Japan’s historical period or art genre so you will discover new styles and deepen your understanding of Japanese history all in just one place! This article will introduce to you a list of the most popular and must-see Ueno Park’s museums, with their peculiar characteristics and attractions.
Tokyo National Museum
Here you will find paintings, calligraphy, sculptures, and all kind of Japanese and, more in general, Asian decorative arts, collected in wide spaces that are managing to preserve traditional monuments while adding a modern touch to the architectures. The most interesting areas seem to be the Gallery of Horyuji Treasures and the museum gardens. The first one stands on two floors and stores a collection of more than 300 valuable Horyuji treasures from the 7th-8th century, which were donated to the Imperial Household by Horyuji Temple. The building is rather modern and technology stands together with history, making possible to see all the treasures through a digital archive too.
Regarding the garden area, it opens to the public in cherry blossom season and crimson foliage season, to make the best of its fantastic views and colours. In the garden we can find also 5 story teahouses (Shunsoro, Tengoan, Rokusoan, Okyokan, and Kujokan), all available for booking tea ceremonies and for special events like Haiku gatherings. Finally, the museum offers a very vast research archive about archaeological data, very useful for university students/researchers, but also interesting for curious tourists.
Address: 13-9 Uenokoen Taito-ku, Tokyo
Prices: adult ¥620, university student ¥410, under 18-over 70 free entrance
National Museum of Nature and Science
As the museum’s motto is “explore the power of imagination”, every event and exhibition is created in order to stimulate your natural curiosity and help you discover a brand new world, no matter if it’s about biodiversity, botanic, or astronomy, this museum has a lot to offer to everyone. With its 130 years of activity, you can find a large offer of exhibitions like the “History of the Japanese islands” one, situated in the Japan Gallery:here you can get a better look at the complex and unique geological history of Japan and you can discover exstinct species through fossils and layers of rock. A boost for imagination! There are even a kids section and a great variety of events, for example, the night astronomical observations and the botanical garden guided tours!
Address: 7-20 Uenokoen Taito-ku, Tokyo
Price: adult/university student ¥620, high school student and under is free
Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum
Metropolitan Art Museum’s concept is to create a place where anyone can encounter new values and explore himself, enjoying fine arts in a suggestive environment. As it aspires to become a “doorway to art” the museum offers even architecture tours so that the visitors may enjoy the museum’s building just like any other piece of art. This tour is guided by “art communicators”(Tobira), and each tour is unique because it reflects the assigned Tobira.
Here you can find a vast selection of sculptures and calligraphy works, and a huge variety of special exhibitions: for example the Van Gogh & Japan one, that explores the relations between Vincent and Japanese artists. One of the most famous Van Gogh’s painting, Courtesan, relates in fact to Japanese customs and even after Vincent’s death, Japanese artists were very interested in his works.
Address: 8-36 Uenonkoen Taito-ku,Tokyo
Price: Museum entry is free, but exhibition admission fee may vary
National Museum of Western Art
As the name says, the National Museum of Western Art focuses on sharing the finest western arts, offering galleries of galleries full of piece of art from the Renaissance period until the 20th century.
Here we can find Veronese, Rubens, Rivera, the French artists Monet, Renoir and Manet and even modern artists such as Picasso or Miro. There is also a huge number of special exhibitions to discover in every season. Last but not least, the museum’s main building was designed by Le Corbusier, a very renowed French architect that gave this building such a splendid and modern design that it becomes an important cultural propriety.
Address: 7-7 Uenokoen Taito-ku, Tokyo
Price: adult ¥500, college student ¥250 younger than 18 and older than 65 fee entrance
Ueno Royal Museum
With Ueno Royal museum luck seems to be a really important concept. This museum, managed by the Japan Art Association (with patron prince Hitachi) doesn’t have fixed exhibition but they are always changing as they borrow the best work of arts, archeology and a lot more from the most influential and famous museums from all over the world.
One example is the past Tutankhamun exhibition, or the Van Gogh’s one that made a huge crowd and obviously didn’t lack in popularity. From the building, you can also see Tokyo Sky Tree, while relaxing in the museum’s café or doing shopping in its artistic shop. As the galleries and exhibitions aren’t always the same the entrance fee is not fixed and may become expensive.
Address:1-2 Uenokoen Taito-ku, Tokyo
Price: differs by event
Website: http://www.ueno-mori.org/ ( almost Japanese only)
Very easy to find, as it’s located near Ueno station, the museum’s concept is to remind the Japanese old downtown culture and to convey it celebrating the history of the common people of the 20th century. Here we can find the reconstruction of a cute little corner of the late Tokyo life, with downtown houses reproductions that shows tatami rooms, old TVs and even a series of public baths very popular around 1910-1955.
The access fee is very cheap and inside you will be guided through the attractions by volunteering guides, that will explain more in detail the late Edo life to you in a very good English. This museum’s objective is to create a way to go back in time and breath the late downtown ‘s life in person, bringing interesting experiences that surely you’ll never want to miss!
Address: 2-2-1 Uenonkoen Taito-ku, Tokyo
Price: adult ¥300, high school students and under ¥100
Kuroda Memorial Hall
Totally renovated in 2015, the Kuroda Memorial Hall is now situated in the Tokyo National Museum area. It was conceived in 1928 thanks to Kuroda Artist’s donations. Kuroda Seiki was a very productive painter and he’s considered the father of the modern western-style painting in Japan.
Even though the Memorial Hall’s space is limited, it offers a large collection of oil paintings that includes portraits and natural representations, sketches, drawings and letters that have the power to show you a little image of the simple life of Kuroda’s period with elegance and gentle colours. Artists sketches, in particular, can stimulate the power of your imagination, bringing a preview of an artwork that will never be completed.
Address: 13-9 Uenokoen Taito-ku, Tokyo
Price: free entrance!
The University Art Museum
University Art Museum’s history is very interesting: at first, it was conceived just to store the Tokyo Fine Arts School’s collection for educative purposes, but it became bigger and bigger until 1949 when the Fine Art School was incorporated into the Tokyo Music School and it gained a music material collection too.
At this point of his history, it became one of Japan’s largest collection of Japanese modern arts, and it was adapted to become a museum. It now offers 29 000 work of arts that includes former students and teachers works. 22 items are also national treasures and the collection grows bigger every year, showing the growth of art students into great masters. The museum hosts a lot of different exhibitions every year so the entrance fee may vary and become a little expensive, but it’s definitely worth the price!
Address: 12-8 Uenokoen Taito-ku, Tokyo
The thumbnail image is from Flickr
All price information in this article is as of November 2017