Comfort Hotel Nara
Phone: (81) 742 25 3211
Fax: (81) 742 25 3212
Arts & Museums
The result of a plan to tie in with the Silk Road Exposition (1988) and the revitalization of Nara-machi, this specialty museum focuses on various devices which men have produced to mark time. For example, the then Crown Prince Emperor Tenchi [r. 661-671] instituted at the Asuka site a water lock, a Chinese invention from the Han Dynasty. The collection consists of around 4,000 pieces (astronomical data, various timepieces, sundials, mechanisms for measuring time and even a Nara calendar). Typically 200-300 items are on view at one time.
The museum is a venue for several exhibits throughout the year of visiting collections. The three main areas of the permanent holdings are ceramics, woodblock prints and nihonga-style paintings. Featured painters include Josaku Maeda and Ichiro Fukugawa, while the well-represented potters are Shoji Hamada and Kenkichi Tomimoto. Among the printmakers, there is a good selection of the masters—Hiroshige and Hokusai as well as Sharaku, Utamaro, Eisen and Harunobu.
It is fitting that this major Buddhist art collection is situated in Nara, the ancient capital of Japan. The western gallery dates to 1895, while the eastern gallery opened in 1973. The focus of the holdings concentrates on Nara and Heian period sculpture, calligraphy, archaeological artifacts, and paintings, as well as decorative arts. Thematic special exhibits are held periodically, including a major one annually (usually in May). In the autumn items from Todai-ji's storehouse, the Shosoin, are shown.
In this museum is the legacy of the taste of Junsaku Nakamura (1875-1953), who collected Chinese mirrors, both Tang and Han, as well as Chinese bronzes. Among the Japanese ceramics, Bizen-yaki and Satsuma porcelain are well represented. Lovers of these will not be disappointed even though pottery masters Kenzan, Ninsei and Oribe are featured. The Song dynasty Chinese works feature both incense burners and celadons. The bronze section is very strong in Yin dynasty vessels, a truly eclectic variety.
The architecture of this museum is definitely modern but its designer Kishio Kurokawa managed to construct an aesthetically pleasing building which blends in well with the backdrop of Nara. Dedicated to the noteworthy photographer, Taikichi Irie, whose motifs of Buddhist images and scenery of Nara spanned about 50 years, this museum is a memorial to him. The permanent collection was donated to the city by Irie. Exhibitions are held periodically.
In tribute to a Nara region native potter, this museum is located where he was born and is dedicated to the memory of Kenkichi Tomimoto [1886-1963]. A traditional Japanese storehouse (kura) has been remodeled to display two floors worth of this yakimono icon's beautiful work. A contemporary of Bernard Leach, his work is well known for its characteristic calligraphy painted onto the ceramic pieces. From his early work in folk-art style (mingei) of simple glazing and shapes, during the latter part of his career he favored white porcelain, incorporating cobalt into his designs. He was a much admired Japanese potter.
On top of the belfry is the relatively new building for Byodo-in's impressive art collection which includes the renowned Heian period doors decorated with paintings. As the ravages of many centuries have eroded the originals, replicas are on view. Heian art specialists will appreciate the enormous bell with lions and Buddhist angels carved on it. The not-to-be-missed treat is the pair of phoenixes which formerly rested on top of the Hoo-do's roof. Copies of the paintings that were on the Hoo-do beams are also exhibited.
This museum was opened in March 1968 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the founding of Matsushita Electric Company. Various exhibits trace the life and achievements of Konosuke Matsushita, the company's founder, using historical materials, early Matsushita products, photographs, posters and archives. As to be expected of Japan's leading electric/electronics company, these exhibits are displayed with the aid of the most advanced audio-visual and computer technology, and presented in both Japanese and English for the benefit of an increasing number of foreign visitors.
Opened in 1994, this museum is devoted to archaeology. Here you can find out how archaeologists use the latest scientific methods and technology to restore and preserve burial mounds, building sites and ancient artifacts. You can learn all about the giant keyhole shaped burial mounds built at various sites throughout Japan during the Kofun Period (4th-6th century A.D.) or discover how the Japanese people imported knowledge and culture from the Asian continent during both the Kofun and the Asuka Periods (4th-7th century A.D). An English auto-guide system and catalog are available. Many foreign visitors come especially to view the architecture of the building designed by Tadao Ando.
Located close to Osaka Castle, the Osaka International Peace Center opened on International Peace Day, September 11, 1991, with the aim or preserving the memory of wartime misery and transmitting a message of peace to future generations. The center exhibits a large variety of historical items, including a reproduction of a one-ton bomb dropped by the U.S. Air Force on Osaka during World War II. The displays comprise both actual artifacts and reproductions.
Located within Osaka Castle, the Osaka City Museum gives a comprehensive introduction to the history, economy and culture of Osaka from the Paleolithic Age to the Edo Period (1603-1867). Opened in 1960, the museum is a three-story building where regular exhibitions are held on the first and second floors and special exhibitions are held on the third floor. The history and culture of Osaka is the main theme of the regular exhibitions. A great part of the exhibits display are original items, including old documents and nishiki-e (color) prints.
The Mint Bureau is an extraordinary organization operated under the Ministry of Finance and has its Head office in Osaka with branches in Tokyo and Hiroshima. About 4,000 items are exhibits in the Mint Museum. They include ancient coins, such as the "obang" and "kobang" (large and small gold coins of old Japan) and many outstanding articles accumulated since the establishment of the Mint. The Tokyo and Sapporo Olympics prize medals. The building housing the Museum is the only Western style building of the Meiji Era (1868~1912) remaining on the premises of the Head Office. Both the coin production plant and the order production plant of this Bureau have a visitor's corridor. Guides are provided to visitors about the work being done as they go through these corridors. There are further exhibitions concerning the monetary production process and a collection of Japanese medals.