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The Tokugawa Art Museum

I grew up hating museums because I saw no point in looking at meaningless objects uncased in glass boxes. A few decades ago, though, on vacation in Washington D.C., I visited the capital where I saw another object, but one of great admiration which was also encased in a helium sealed glass box; that object was called The Bill of Rights. Indeed I was impressed because in school I was taught so much about this document and then seeing it there right before my eyes was a sight to behold. I changed and grew to love museums. North America has a treasure trove of excellent museums, especially local ones. My interest in museums grew by leaps and bounds as I began traveling through-out West Asia(Turkey), some parts of Europe, Korea,Taiwan, and finally Japan.

My fascination with museums ultimately lead me to Japan where museums abound plentifully in just about every nook and cranny of every small town, city, and major metropolis. No city is without a national or local museum, or gallery of some sort. There's a story to be told no matter where you set foot in Japan and this is partly why I think so many people move here and fall in love with this country. I think it's a pity, though, that so much of this country's art works goes under appreciated, like the Tokugawa Art Museum near downtown Nagoya for example.

The museum opened in 1935 and houses many priceless pieces of art, furnishings, armor, and garments from centuries ago when Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Edo Shogunate, ruled Japan. The entire collection amounts to over ten thousand items! In particular it boasts nine items designated National Treasures, including the world-famous twelfth-century Illustrated Tale of Genji, fifty-five objects designated Important Cultural Properties, and forty-four art works selected as Important Art Objects.

The museum has 9 exhibition rooms: Symbol of the Warrior( Swords and Armor), The Practice of Tea( A Daimyo Tea Room), Formal Chamber of a Daimyo's Residence, Daimyo Patronage of Noh Theater, Objects and furnishings of Elegant Living, The Flowering of the Courtly Tradition(The Illustrated Tale of Genji). Rooms 7,8,9, are special exhibition rooms that change in order to reflect the seasons or some kind of other artworks. My favorite exhibition room was #1 Swords and Armor.
If you take your time strolling through the museum then you can probably cover everything in about 3 hours.... General information about the museum is as follows: Opening Hours are from 10am to 5pm closed every Monday except Mondays when there is are National Holidays then closed on the following Tuesday. Also closed between late December and the New Year period. Admissions is 1200 yen for adults students(high school and university) 700 yen. Students (elementary and junior high school) 500 yen.

Getting there is not too bad. Take the JR Chuo Line bound for "Tajimi" and get off at "Ozone" Station (Minami-guchi or South Exit). 10 minute walk to Tokugawean( a Japanese garden is adjacent to the main museum). Contact number of this museum is 052-935-6262
Final notes. This museum is a must for anybody interested in the Edo Shogunate. I'd even go as far as to advice visiting here first before the castle. I'd also recommend making the museum an entire day trip because of the sheer size of the place. The only negative is no photography is permitted, other than that this is a great museum with an excellent souvenir shop located in the atrium.


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