Location: Tokyo National Museum, Ueno

Rounding out my exploration of Ueno's museums is the highlight of the park's cultural attractions.
 The Tokyo National Museum sits at the north end of the park, across the road from the grand promenade, like the US Capitol overlooks the grounds of the Smithsonian.
 The museum grounds contain a few buildings. The building seen in the photo directly above mainly houses special exhibitions.
 A nice courtyard and garden is off to the side of the museums for relaxing. But you're concerned with the exhibits.
 They can be found in this building right in front.
 As you approach, you see a nice pond with well-trimmed hedges.
 If you arrive at the right time of year, you might just see the ume (ooh-may; plum) or sakura (sah-koo-rah; cherry) blossoms. Go in the museum. You'll like what you see.
 As an overview, I'll share some of what I saw. Above are some vases and a plate. One of my favorite types of art from Japan (and Asia) is the pottery. Plates, bowls, and vases are all ornately painted and quite beautiful.
 Japanese enjoy looking at swords, but here they are split up into their pieces to better-acknowledge the handiwork. Above are some hilts.
 Here are some other pieces to be found on swords. Not seen are the blades themselves, which also are on display in the museum. While the handlework and ornamentation is quite beautiful, swords aren't quite my cup of tea.
 Religion is a very important part of Japan's history, culture, and art.
 Plenty of statues and other artwork related to religious symbols can be found on display.
 Scrolls from Japan's past carry a vast amount of history, and many times are passed from generation to generation. You can see a red spot on the bottom-right of the photo which might indicate ownership; many Asian emperors would stamp their seal on important pieces of work as they came to own them. I'm not sure how popular that was in Japan. Japanese calligraphy is beautiful in and of itself, and I would like to have a scroll similar to this (not historical, just perhaps a handmade modern document).
 This might be the coolest piece on display in the museum. Japanese armor is quite beautiful and ornate, and often have scary faces designed into the mask.
 Here you can see a closeup of the detail on the armor.
 Also beautiful are lacquer boxes, often with several mini-boxes inside. Again, a neat item worth having a modern reproduction of.
Last, a few netsuke from the museum's large collection. Netsuke were small trinkets used generally to keep pouches closed. There are many different types; a small overview is found on Wikipedia's page.

The museum is designed with foreigners in mind; English (and other language) information is widely available. It's open 9:30-5 pm or later every day except Monday (Tuesday if Monday is a holiday). Admission is 600 yen, a small price to pay for a great look at Japan's historical artifacts. You can easily get there from Ueno Station; it's at the north end of Ueno Park.

Now that I've finished with Ueno Park (I haven't been to the zoo or the recently-reopened Metropolitan Art Museum) I can move on to other locations in Japan! Kyushu, here we come...

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