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Tokyo's Magical Winter of Art: The Must-See Exhibitions in December

Tokyo's Magical Winter of Art: The Must-See Exhibitions in December

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This December will grant an opportunity to dip into the rich and ancient culture of Japan, from colorful kabuki traditions to majestic Buddha statues a dozen centuries old. Fight the cold and get lost in time while discovering the many ancient charms of Japan!

The Hidden Buddha of Rakuya-ji Temple

The Hidden Buddha of Rakuya-ji Temple

September 13th (Tue) to December 11th (Sun)

Rakuya-ji is an ancient temple of the Buddhist Tendai sect, nestled away in Koka City in Shiga Prefecture. Said to be a treasure house of Heian Buddhists, it houses over twenty different ancient Buddha statues, all of them designated important cultural properties. The Hidden Buddha of Rakuyaji Exhibition marks the first time that all of these statues can be seen together outside of the temple itself and thus an incredibly rare and unique opportunity to experience ancient Japanese Buddhism firsthand. One of the highlights is the Eleven-Faced Kannon Statue, three meters in height. Standing in front of a religious artwork like that is as awe-inspiring as it is intriguing.

Entry Fee: 1,000 yen
Hours: 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (until 8:00 p.m. on Fridays, 10.22, 11.3, and 11.5)
Holidays: Monday (or the following day should Monday be a national holiday)

  • Tokyo National Museum
    • Address 13-9, Uenokouen, Taitou-ku, Tokyo, 110-8712
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    • Nearest Station Ueno Station (Hokkaido Shinkansen Line / Tohoku Shinkansen Line / Akita Shinkansen Line / Yamagata Shinkansen Line / Joetsu Shinkansen Line / Hokuriku Shinkansen Line / JR Keihin-Tohoku Line / JR Yamanote Line / JR Tohoku Main Line / JR Utsunomiya Line / JR Takasaki Line / JR Joban Line / Tokyo Metro Ginza Line / Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line)
      10 minutes on foot
    • Phone Number 03-5405-8686

Lucas Cranach the Elder: 500 Years of the Power of Temptation

Lucas Cranach the Elder: 500 Years of the Power of Temptation

October 15th (Sat) to January 15th (Sun) 2017

Lucas Cranach the Elder is one of the most representative painters of the German Renaissance. He isn't only particularly known for the eroticism of his paintings of women and his many portraits of German nobles but also for having a major influence on the Reformation in Germany, having painted Martin Luther's portrait and becoming a close friend. This exhibition is held in special cooperation with Germany's Kunsthistorisches Museum and is the first time that Cranach's works are displayed in Japan. It marks the 500th anniversary of the beginnings of the Reformation in 1517, offering a once in a lifetime opportunity to get a glimpse of Cranach's iconic interpretation and depictions of "temptation."

Entry Fee: 1,600 yen
Hours: 9:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. (until 8:00 p.m. on Fridays)
Holidays: Monday (open on 2nd of January 2017); December 28th to January 1st 2017

  • The National Museum of Western Art
    • Address Ueno-koen Park 7-7, Taito-ku, Tokyo, 110-0007
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    • Nearest Station Ueno Station (Hokkaido Shinkansen Line / Tohoku Shinkansen Line / Akita Shinkansen Line / Yamagata Shinkansen Line / Joetsu Shinkansen Line / Hokuriku Shinkansen Line / JR Keihin-Tohoku Line / JR Yamanote Line / JR Tohoku Main Line / JR Utsunomiya Line / JR Takasaki Line / JR Joban Line / Tokyo Metro Ginza Line / Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line)
      1 minute on foot
    • Phone Number 03-5777-8600

Theater and Games: Discovering Japan's Traditional Entertainment Arts

Theater and Games: Discovering Japan's Traditional Entertainment Arts

November 26th (Sat) to January 28th (Sat) 2017

In 1966, the National Theatre of Japan opened its doors as a place that both promotes and preserves Japan's colorful traditional entertainment arts. This extensive exhibition is held to commemorate its 50th anniversary, showcasing various forms of Japanese theater, such as kabuki, noh, bunraku, and more. Colorful costumes, expressive masks, and filigree instruments help to realize the many charms of these old traditions, illustrating their characteristics in various different ways. Discover authentic Japanese aesthetics while strolling along the exhibits, each one unique in its very own, beautiful way, allowing visitors an insightful glimpse behind the curtain.

Entry Fee: 1,300 yen
Hours: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Holidays: Mondays (open on January 9th 2017, closed on January 10th)

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.

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