The National Museum of Japanese History (国立歴史民俗博物館 Kokuritsu Rekishi Minzoku Hakubutsukan) is located in Sakura City, Chiba Prefecture. Also known as "Rekihaku", it was established in 1981 as a university research institute and opened to the public in 1983. The collections of the museum focus on the history, archaeology, and folk culture of Japan and hold some 200,000 artifacts.
The permanent exhibitions comprise six galleries divided into twenty-five topics. There are also several Special Exhibitions throughout the year (additional admission fee).
- Gallery 1: currently closed for renovation (Japan's earliest history from Jomon)
- Gallery 2: depicts the culture and the daily life from the Heian to the Azuchi-Momoyama periods (8th to 16th century CE) and covers court culture, the Kamakura shogunate, the Sengoku Period, the life of commoners in the 14th-16th centuries, and Japan's maritime history and first contacts with China and Western powers as well a the history of printing.
- Gallery 3: covers the culture and the daily life from the early Edo Period, the growing trade within Japan and with foreign powers, the phenomenon of urbanization, village life as well as maps of early modern Japan.
- Gallery 4: folk cultures, focusing on folklore, spiritual activities and superstitions, celebrations and ceremonies, as well as the tools and skills people needed for living, houses as places of events and the activities of merchants, craftsmen, fishermen, and farmers.
- Gallery 5: the dawn of modern civilization, depicting Japan's modernization from the late 19th century to the 1920s; civilization and enlightenment, industrialization and the development of Hokkaido, and new urban lifestyles covering Tokyo's fast-growing population and the impact of the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923.
- Gallery 6: modern Japan from 1920 to the 1970s, social change in the light of war and peace.
Most exhibits are in Japanese, but the museum offers audio guides in several foreign languages. The museum shop in the basement holds a vast collection of souvenirs and literature (only in Japanese). Lunch and other refreshments are served in a small restaurant in the basement which is in popular demand on weekends and holidays.
More photos in the album.
Access and admission:
Address: 117 Jonai-cho, Sakura City, Chiba Prefecture 285-8502; phone: 043-486-0123
Access: Sakura City can be reached by JR Sobu Line from Tokyo Station (60 minutes) or from Narita Airport (25 minutes); or by Keisei Line from Keisei Ueno Station to Keisei Sakura Station (55 minutes), 20 minutes from Narita Airport; from both JR Sakura Station and Keisei Sakura Station, it is either 5 minutes by taxi or a 15-minute walk to the museum.
Admission: 420 JPY for adults, 350 JPY for students over age 16 (350 JPY and 200 JPY for groups of twenty or more; free admission for disabled visitors.
Opening hours: daily 9:30 - 17:00 (March - September, last entry 16:30), 9:30 - 16:30 (October - February, last entry 16:00); closed December 27 to January 4 and on Tuesdays when Monday is a national holiday.