Kyoto National Museum

Southern Higashiyama

The Kyoto National Museum is the city's premier art museum and plays host to the highest-level exhibitions in the city. It was founded in 1895 as an imperial repository for art and treasures from local temples and shrines. The Heisei Chishinkan, designed by Taniguchi Yoshio and opened in 2014, is a brilliant modern counterpoint to the original red-brick main hall building, which was closed and undergoing structural work at the time of research. Check the Kyoto Visitor's Guide to see what's on while you're in town.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Southern Higashiyama attractions

1. Sanjūsangen-dō Temple

0.13 MILES

This superb temple’s name refers to the 33 sanjūsan (bays) between the pillars of this long, narrow edifice. The building houses 1001 wooden statues of…

2. Kawai Kanjirō Memorial Hall

0.28 MILES

This small memorial hall is one of Kyoto’s most commonly overlooked little gems. The hall was the home and workshop of one of Japan’s most famous potters,…

3. Rokuharamitsu-ji

0.49 MILES

An important Buddhist pilgrimage stop, this temple was founded in 963 by Kūya Shōnin, who carved an image of an 11-headed Kannon and installed it in the…

4. Shōsei-en

0.54 MILES

About five minutes’ walk east of Higashi Hongan-ji, this garden is a peaceful green island in a vast expanse of concrete. While it’s not on par with many…

5. Ebisu-jinja

0.71 MILES

This small shrine near Kennin-ji honours Ebisu, the god of prosperity. Naturally, it's a popular spot with local businesspeople. The Tōka Ebisu festival…

6. Yasui Konpira-gū

0.72 MILES

This interesting little Shintō shrine on the edge of Gion contains one of the most peculiar objects we've encountered anywhere in Japan: the enkiri…

7. Kennin-ji

0.73 MILES

Founded in 1202 by the monk Eisai, Kennin-ji is the oldest Zen temple in Kyoto. It is an island of peace and calm on the border of the boisterous Gion…

8. Kyoto Tower Observation Deck

0.74 MILES

Located opposite Kyoto Station, this retro tower (1964) looks like a rocket perched atop the Kyoto Tower Hotel. The observation deck provides excellent…