Heisei-chishinkan

The place you feel refresh and the murmur of water in complete silence.


Text : Keiko Kimura / Photo : Takashi Oka


  Kyoto National Museum was established in 1897 and Heisei-chishinkan was opened in September, 2014 while bringing out splendid appearance of Meijikotokan which is an important cultural property. The world famous architecture, Mr. Yoshio Taniguchi, who planned a new building of MOMA and The Gallery of Horyu-ji Temple Treasures at The Tokyo National Museum, designed Heisei-chishinkan. This project started from 1998 and it was finished after 16 years later and now the perfect harmonious and calm appearance will welcome us.






  A first class architect, Ms. Atsuko Hokujo, who is in charge of environmental improvement at Kyoto National Museum told me, “There were 3 things that Mr. Taniguchi focused on to build this Heisei-chishinkan. ‘Proportion’ and ‘material’ of the building and ‘natural light’”. Modernism Architecture with a lot of straight lines aims at ultimate simpleness. There are no unnecessary things around and it exists in quiet and harmonized atmosphere. You might get overwhelmed by its presence of chosen materials on the wall and floor with the essence of light and water.


  People can’t imagine Heisei-chishinkan without water, but when people started this project, there were voices that they don’t need water at all. She said, “Usually, a museum won’t prefer ‘water’ around because it will deteriorate works completely. Even though people know that it is not going to be inside, but they all hesitated to have it”. However, as a result of having considered Mr. Taniguchi’s passion and the meaning of water, people allowed him to design this project with water.


  The ’ultimate horizon’ is the meaning of water to him. She explained, “a water surface is always flat and perfect straight line unless it waves. Colorful reflections are very beautiful when the surface moves”. A small fountain is repeating the lively and silent movement one after the other while showing 2 different faces on the water surface.


  Moreover, water became a sacred barrier of Heisei-chishinkan and when you pass through it the you feel refresh. Temples and shrines have Chozusha (building for cleaning hands and rinsing mouth) to clean ourselves before pray to gods, and it seems it has the same role as they do.




  Well calculated designs in Heisei-chishinkan. When you look toward Higashiyama by sitting chairs at an entrance lobby, you can see Meijikotokan beautifully over the water movement. Absolutely, exhibition spaces are amazing and they adopted big high transparency glass in order to have people feel close to exhibited works by minimizing metal parts. They secure a lot of treasures from temples so that they have exhibition related to temples in Kyoto and you definitely feel solemn.


  Everything is perfect, accurate and calm here. A sense of unity and neatness. You feel the change of scenery and the murmur of water in this perfect appearance. This is the special place that you want to be immersed in your feelings once you visited here. 



<Kyoto National Museum / Heisei-chishinkan>


ADDRESS : 527 Chaya-cho Higashiyama-ku Kyoto City


PHONE : +81(0)75-525-2473


HOURS : 9:30 a.m. ~ 4:30 p.m.


※ When it is a special exhibition term, hours will be from 9:30 a.m. ~ 5:30 p.m. (Only Friday ~7:30 p.m.)


CLOSED : Monday (Opened if it’s holiday, and Tuesday will be closed instead)

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