Meiji Kotokan Hall / Main Gate

Meiji Kotokan Hall / Main Gate

Meiji Kotokan Hall (Main Hall of the Former Imperial Museum of Kyoto)

Meiji Kotokan Hall (Main Hall of the Former Imperial Museum of Kyoto)

This red brick building, the original Main Hall of the former Imperial Museum of Kyoto, was completed in October 1895 and opened in May 1897. It was designed by Katayama Tokuma (1854-1917), a leading architect for the Imperial Household Ministry, and has become a symbol of the Kyoto National Museum epitomizing Western-style Japanese architecture of the Meiji period.

Renamed the Meiji Kotokan Hall in recent years, this building and the original Main Gate, all constructed of red brick, were designated an Important Cultural Property of Japan in 1969. The interior comprises a reception area, a central gallery, and ten smaller galleries totaling 3,015 m2, of which 2,070 m2 may be used as exhibition space.

Long the venue for the Kyoto National Museum's biannual special exhibitions, this hall is no longer being used for the display of artwork and is normally closed to museum visitors. Plans are being made for upgrades and seismic retrofitting in the future.

Main Gate


Main Gate

Completed in October 1895, the Main Gate was the original entrance to the museum. Today it is used as a visitor exit, or entrance point for groups. After entering the museum grounds, be sure to stroll down to the Main Gate and look back at the spectacular view of the Meiji Kotokan's nineteenth-century Western style architecture set perfectly into the natural scenery. Note how the Higashiyama hills rise on either side of the central dome. This gate, together with the Meiji Kotokan Hall, was designated an Important Cultural Property in 1969.

A Message to Museum Visitors

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