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Outdoor Exhibits

Water Fountain Garden

Water Fountain Garden

The Thinker (Le Penseur)

By Auguste Rodin (1840–1917)
Kyoto National Museum

The Thinker, one of Auguste Rodin's most famous sculptures, was originally a part of his Gates of Hell. Although there are several examples of The Thinker, this work was cast at an early stage of its production.

Hōkō-ji Temple Stonewall

National Historical Site

The warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536–98) built this stonewall for Hōkō-ji Temple, upon the grounds which the Kyoto National Museum now stands. Constructed in Tensho 16 (1588), this stone structure once had a tiled-roofed mud wall standing upon it. Later, when Hideyoshi's son Hideyori (1593–1615) rebuilt this wall, the tiled-roofed mud wall was replaced with a covered corridor. The traces of this former wall's pillar bases can still be seen in the southwest corner.

West Garden

West Garden

Early stone Buddhas, foundation stones, and bridge posts can be found in the West Garden, located in the southwest corner of museum grounds. View this outdoor exhibit, while taking a short walk or break.

Stone Lantern

Japan, Kamakura period (1185–1333)
Gift of Hiroshi Yamaoka
Kyoto National Museum

This lantern originally lit the entrance to a Buddhist hall.

Christian Tombstones

Japan, Edo period, 17th century
*Discovered on the grounds of An'yo-in Temple, Kyoto
*Discovered on the grounds of Seigan-ji Temple, Kyoto
Gift of Fujii Teruhisa
Kyoto National Museum

These tombstones were made for Japanese Christians in the Keichō era (1596–1615). Most of these grave markers were destroyed in the Edo period (1616–867), during the persecution of Christians by the Tokugawa government. Carved on the front of the stones are a cross, the letters IHS (representing the Latin for the followers of Christ), the Western year of death, and the baptismal name of the deceased.

Amida Triad

Japan, Heian period, 12th century
Excavated from Takeda-cho, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto

The Buddha Amida (Skt., Amitabha) sits here flanked by his two attendant bodhisattvas, Kannon (Skt., Avalokitesvara) and Seishi (Skt., Mahasthamaprapta). Belief in Amida's Pure Land (J., Jodo) in the Western Paradise was popular during the late Heian period (794–1185), when it was believed that Buddhism had entered the degenerate age of mappo, the end of the Buddhist teaching. Many Amida triad images were produced during this time, though examples in stone, such as this, are rare.

Stone Bridge Pillars

Japan, Momoyama period (1573–1615)
Kyoto National Museum
*Pillars from Gojō Bridge
*Pillar from Sanjo Bridge with inscription, Tenshō 17 (1589), Tsu no kuni Mikage, auspicious day of the seventh month

Gojō Bridge Pillars and Beam

Inscription, "Tsu no kuni Mikage, auspicious day of the fifth month of Tenshō 17 (1589)" Japan, Momoyama period (1392–1572)
Kyoto National Museum

The pillars and beams, dated Tenshō 17 (1589), were part of the construction project of the Great Gojō Bridge across the Kamo River in Kyoto by the warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536–98). Inscribed on the front are four characters, Tsu no kuni Mikage, which indicate that it was transported from Mikage (present-day Kobe City) of Settsu Province (known in ancient times as Tsu no kuni).

Foundation Stone

Kyoto National Museum

Iron Ring for the Former Hōkō-ji Temple Buddha Hall

Japan, Momoyama period, 17th century
Kyoto National Museum

This iron ring served as building material for the warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi's (1536–98) construction project of the Buddha Hall for Hōkō-ji Temple, which was formerly built where the Kyoto National Museum stands today. Such metal rings as this supported large wooden pillars for colossal architectural structures as the former Buddha Hall.

Stone Track for the Tōkaido Highway

Japan, Edo period, 18th–19th century
Excavated from near Kujoyama, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto
Gift of Kurozumi Ryushirō
Kyoto National Museum

During the Edo period (1616–1867), stone tracks (J., kuruma ishi, literally cart stones, also known as waishi, "wheel stones") were laid out in pairs and served as rails for ox- and horse-drawn carriages. In Kyoto, these stones with a concave cut were placed along major roads such as those leading to the Tokaido and Takeda Highways.

Foundation Stone

Excavated from the southwest corner of the Museum
Kyoto National Museum

Hōkō-ji Temple Paving Stone

Japan, Momoyama period, 17th century
Kyoto National Museum

Heiankyo Building Stone

Excavated near Senbon Marutamachi, Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto
Japan, Early Heian period (794–1185)
Gift of Kurozumi Ryushiro
Kyoto National Museum

Stone Epitaph

With inscription, Enkyo 2 (1309)
Kyoto National Museum

House-shaped Coffin

Excavated from Osofunemachi, Oku County, Okayama Prefecture
Japan, Kofun period, 6th century

This late-Kofun period stone coffin, dated to around the 6th century, was found in an inner stone burial chamber. Its small size suggests that it was made for a child.

Fudō Myōō (Skt., Acala)

Japan, Muromachi period (1392–1572)

Foundation Stone

Excavated from Saki-chō, Nara City
Japan, Nara period
Kyoto National Museum

Seated Jizō (Skt., Kstigarbha)

Japan, Kamakura period (1185–1333)
Gift of Michi Kamitani
Kyoto National Museum

Octagonal Bronze Lantern

(Replica of a National Treasure)
Tōdai-ji Temple
Kyoto National Museum

Boundary Stone between Yamashiro and Tanba Provinces

Japan, Edo period,
19th century

This stone marker stood at Oinosaka Pass (today in Nishigyō-ku, Kyoto), the western entrance to the early capital of Kyoto. The inscription reads, "East of this point lies Yamashiro Province," suggesting that it once directed travelers heading from Kameyama (present-day Kameoka City) in Tanba Province to the capital.

East Garden

East Garden

The East Garden is located on a sloping hilltop in the southeastern corner of the museum grounds that is a garden of stone sculptures from the Korean Peninsula. After a visit to the exhibition halls, enjoy a peaceful stroll through this little hidden oasis.

Tomb Figurines

Thirteen Human Figures, Pair of Sheep, Two Lanterns, Fives Stands, Eight Square Bases, Two Pairs of Columns
Korea, Joseon dynasty (1392–1910)
Gift of Yamamoto Aya
Kyoto National Museum

From ancient times, the tombs of powerful figures were adorned with stone figurines on the Korean Peninsula and China. These sculptures come from the Korean Joseon dynasty (1392–1910).

Stone Stupa and Buddhas

These votive stone objects were unearthed behind the stonewall of Hōkō-ji Temple.


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