The Tokugawa Art Museum (徳川美術館 Tokugawa Bijutsukan) is a private museum that opened its gates in 1935 and displays a large collection of artefacts of the Owari branch of the Tokugawa family. Many of these family treasures date back to Tokugawa Ieyasu and were completed by the collection of his ninth son and founder of the Owari branch, Tokugawa Yoshinao (徳川義直, 1601-1650). The entire collection comprises over 12,000 items, ten of which are designated National Treasures, including a twelfth-century copy of the Genji Monogatari, as well as fifty-nine registered Important Cultural Properties, and forty-six Important Art Objects.
The museum was completely renovated in 1987 when new galleries and display rooms were added. In 2004, the refurbished Tokugawa Garden was opened adjacent to the museum as well as a walkway connecting the museum with the Hōsa Library (蓬左文庫) which houses literary works formerly owned by the Tokugawa clan.
The permanent exhibition comprises six rooms displaying
Special exhibitions are held throughout the year; past exhibitions were dedicated to the Doll Festival of the Owari, the Bizen sword, court poets, or Sen-no-Rikyu, and other topics related to the Owari Tokugawa family.
- swords, armour, guns, bows and arrows, etc. of the Owari
- the daimyo‘s tea room, with a reconstruction of the Sarumen Tea House from the Ninomaru residence at Nagoya Castle
- a reconstruction of the formal chamber of the daimyō’s residence (鎖の間 kusari-no-ma), with tokonoma (床の間, alcoves), chigaidana (違い棚, staggered shelves), and shoindoko (書院床, writing alcoves)
- a reconstruction of the Noh stage at Nagoya Castle
- personal items used by the daimyō and his wife (奥渡区 okudogu), including educational tools, household utensils and accessories
- facsimile and video presentations of the handscrolls of the Illustrated Tale of Genji dating back to the 12th-century
The Tokugawa Garden (徳川園 Tokugawa-en) was constructed in 1695 as part of the Ōzone Shimoyashiki (大曽根下屋敷), the retirement residence of Tokugawa Mitsumoto (徳川光友, 1625-1700), the head of the three Tokugawa Houses and second daimyō of the Owari Domain. At the time of its construction, the residence expanded over more than 44 hectares, and it was said that the garden pond could accommodate a sixteen-oar boat. After Mitsumoto’s death, the land was conferred to the chief retainers of the Owari domain, the Naruse, the Ishiko, and the Watanabe families.
After the Meiji Restoration in 1889, it became again the residence of the Owari Tokugawa family, who under Tokugawa Yoshichika (徳川義親, 1886-1976) donated the house and the garden to the city of Nagoya in 1931. The park was eventually opened to the public in 1932. It was destroyed by air raids in World War II and reopened as a general park after the war. In 2001, the landscape was renovated, and Tokugawaen opened in 2004 as a traditional Japanese garden.
Among the garden’s main attractions are the Kuromon, the Black Gate at the entrance completed in 1900 and one of the few structures that survived the war; Ryumon no taki, the Ryumon Waterfall based on the Chinese legend of the carp that leaped up the waterfall and turned into a dragon; the Ryusenko, the central pond with floating islands, stone crossings, raised sand pits and a boathouse; the Seikotei, the Sei Lake Levee, a smaller version of a famous levee located in Hangzhou; the Kosenkyo, a bridge constructed of white cedar stretching over the Ryusenko downstream; the Ozone no taki, a six-meter waterfall, as well as the Kansenro, a two-storied building with a small restaurant and an auditorium.
Visiting hours and admission:
Tokugawa Art Museum
Admission: 1,200 JPY (adults), 700 JPY (high school and university students), 500 JPY (elementary and junior high school students); group discounts available for groups of more than 20 individuals.
Opening hours: 10:00 to 17:00 (admittance until 16:30); closed from every Monday except for national holidays in which case the following Tuesday will be closed; closed from December 29 to January 1.
Admission: 300 JPY (for adults and children)
Opening hours: 09:30 to 17:30 (admittance until 17:00); closed from every Monday except for national holidays in which case the following Tuesday will be closed; closed between late December and the New year period.
1017 Tokugawa-cho, Higashi-ku, Nagoya 461-0023; phone: 052-935-6262.
You can reach the Tokugawa Art Museum and the Tokugawa Garden from Nagoya Station by JR Chuo Line bound for Tajimi to Ozone Station, south exit (ten-minute walk to from the station) or by Higashiyama Metro Line (yellow line) bound for Fujioka, then transfer to Meijo Metro Line (purple line) to Ozone Station (15-minute walk from the station).
- Tokugawa Art Museum Official Website (in English and Japanese)
- Tokugawa Garden Official Website (in English and Japanese)