This museum's goal is to portray Kyoto's fascinating 1,200 years of history, from its founding in 794 until the capital moved to Tokyo in 1868. Unfortunately, it falls short for foreign visitors who don't speak Japanese, because little is explained in English and displays are too dry to convey Kyoto's illustrious history. Die-hard historians and museum nerds can, however, rent audio guides for ¥100 that describe about a dozen of the displays, or they can take advantage of free English-language guides every day from 10am to about 5:30pm for personal tours that last from 30 to 60 minutes, depending on interest. Otherwise, highlights include special changing exhibits relating to Kyoto's arts and crafts and the Film Theater (included in the museum's admission price). It shows Japanese classics from silent movies to films through the past century (Kyoto once served as the base for the Japanese movie industry). Films are screened twice a day Tuesday through Sunday: at 1:30pm daily, 6:30pm Tuesday to Friday, and 5pm Saturday, Sunday, and holidays. I also like the recreated street of Kyoto townhouses in the basement, home to souvenir shops, craft stores, and restaurants, which you can visit without paying the museum admission fee.
Museum of Kyoto (Kyoto Bunka Hakubutsukan)
Takakura-Sanjo, 632-1 Higashikata-cho, Nakagyo-ku
Our Rating Neighborhood Corner of Sanjo and Takakura streets Hours Tues–Sun 10am–7:30pm Transportation Subway: Karasuma-Oike (exit 5, 3 min.) Phone 075/222-0888 Prices ¥500 adults, ¥400 students, free for children Web site Museum of Kyoto (Kyoto Bunka Hakubutsukan)
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.