The Tokyo National Museum, Japan’s oldest and largest museum, houses the largest collection of Japanese art and artifacts anywhere on earth. The collection encompasses more than 100,000 objects with exhibit space for only a fraction of that number, so visitors will almost certainly see new things on each visit.
The museum’s five buildings each contain a separate themed gallery. If you only have time to visit one, make it the Japanese Gallery (Honkan) where you’ll find a collection representing Japanese art history from the Jomon period through the Edo period with pieces dating back to 450 BC.
The Asian Gallery (Toyokan) covers art and artifacts from the rest of Asia, while the Horyuji Treasures (Horyuji Homotsukan) collection features Buddhist artifacts from the Horyuji Temple in Nara Prefecture. The Heiseikan Gallery covers Japanese archeological history and houses many of the museums special exhibits, and the Hyokeikan Gallery highlights works from Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
Open Tues-Sun 9:30am-5pm, last admission is at 4:30pm. Closed Mondays and year-end holidays (December 24- January 1). Adults admission is 620 yen, University Students 410 yen, High/Junior High/Elementary School Students and persons under 18 and over 70 get in free. Access by train: JR Line, 10 minutes from Ueno or Uguisudani Station; Ginza or Hibiya Tokyo Metro Line, 15 minutes from Ueno Station; Chiyoda Tokyo Metro Line, 15 minutes from Nezu Station; or Keisei Line, 15 minutes from Keisei Ueno Station. Parking is not available at the museum but there is nearby parking.