Museum of the Imperial Collections

Art museum in Tokyo, Japan
35°41′11″N 139°45′33″E / 35.686302°N 139.759247°E / 35.686302; 139.759247TypeArt museumCollection sizeca. 9,500 piecesOwnerJapanese Imperial Household AgencyPublic transit accessŌtemachi Station (Tokyo), Tokyo Metro Toei SubwayWebsite[1](in Japanese)

The Museum of the Imperial Collections Sannomaru-Shōzōkan (三の丸尚蔵館) is located on the grounds of the East Garden of Tokyo Imperial Palace.[1] It showcases a changing exhibition of a part of the imperial household treasures.


The Museum of the Imperial Collections was conceived during the change from the Shōwa period (1926 – 1989) to the Heisei period (1989 – 2019) . The Imperial family donated 6,000 pieces of art to the Japanese government in 1989. Many pieces were created by Imperial Household Artists. The museum was opened in 1993 for the study and preservation of the art collection. The collection was further enlarged by the donation of the art collection of Prince Chichibu (1902 – 1953) in 1996, the collection of Kikuko, Princess Takamatsu (1911 – 2004) in 2005, and the collection of Prince Mikasa family in 2014.[1]

The number of items in the collection is 9,800 at present, but the exhibition room is a small room of 160 square meters and the storage room is small. Therefore, the existing museum will be rebuilt and the exhibition room will be expanded to 1,300 square meters. The construction is scheduled to be completed in 2025.[2]

Selected artists

Karajishi-zu Byōbu (Byōbu depicting the Chinese lions) by Kanō Eitoku (16th century)
Old Pine Tree and White Phoenix by Itō Jakuchū. Part of the series Dōshoku sai-e.

Although the museum houses many masterpieces, none of them are designated as National Treasure or Important Cultural Property because cultural properties owned by the Imperial Family or the Imperial Household Agency (Cultural properties donated to the nation by the Imperial family) are not subject to the Law for the Protection of Cultural Properties of Japan.[3]

In 2018, in order to show the importance of cultural properties to many people in a way that is easy to understand, the Imperial Household Agency proposed that cultural properties under its management should also be designated as National Treasure or Important Cultural Property.[3] In July 2021, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, in response to a proposal made by the Imperial Household Agency, decided to designate five cultural properties as National Treasures in the first stage of the designation, including Mōko Shūrai Ekotoba, an emakimono depicting the Mongol invasion of Japan, Karajishi-zu Byōbu, a byōbu by Kano Eitoku, and Dōshoku sai-e, a painting by Ito Jakuchu.[4]



Modern Nihonga

Sculptures and crafts


  1. ^ a b "Sannomaru Shozokan (The Museum of the Imperial Collections)". Tokyo, Japan: Imperial Household Agency. c. 2020. Retrieved July 3, 2020.
  2. ^ 皇居資料館、出国税で拡張 「三の丸尚蔵館」外国人客増目指し Mainichi Shinbun January 13, 2019
  3. ^ a b 宮内庁三の丸尚蔵館の今後の保存・公開の在り方に関する提言. p.7 Imperial Household Agency
  4. ^ 蒙古襲来絵詞など国宝に 宮内庁保管で初―文化審議会. July 16, 2021

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