East Gardens of the Imperial Palace

Kamakura Emaki masterpiece(September 15)

East Gardens of the Imperial Palace

Thank you so much for joining our tour at the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace on September 15. I sincerely appreciate the participation of the 22 friendly guests from UK, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Israel, South Africa, Canada, America, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina and Singapore. It was partly rainy and cloudy. Nevertheless, I hope all of you enjoyed walking with us and perhaps got the chance to wear the instant kimono afterwards as well.

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As some of you may be aware there is a small museum which displays Imperial collections (Sannomaru Shozokan)at the East Gardens on our tour route near Otemon gate. They have nearly 10,000 priceless treasures such as the pictures and art products which have been inherited as the Imperial collection for a long time. Some of them are considered as national treasure. Visiting inside the museum is not included in our tour.


The current exhibition is the masterpiece of picture scrolls(Emaki) of the Kamakura period(1185-1333). All of the Emaki were produced by Yamato-e techniques(classical decorative Japan style paintings) composed of illustrated scrolls of scenes or stories on a long screen in a horizontal direction made up of many sheets of papers or silk cloth. The words and paintings are colorful,exquisite and superb. These scrolls are important illustrated documents containing valuable information. Indeed, they have the artistic values as well as historic significance in knowing folklore materials and the people’s costumes at that time as a form of genre painting. These arts are almost completely preserved in the original states in spite of the passing of a long time.

The Kamakura Emaki scrolls were depicted by the Imperial painters and offered to Kasugataisha Shrine in Nara which kept as a treasure. Then after the aristocratic family’s possession, they were presented to the Imperial court in the Meiji period about 150 years ago. Since then,the Imperial Family had been holding and protected them as a masterpiece. After the long-term restoration works the illustrated scrolls are now on display. Incidentally a series of the Emaki is composed of 20 volumes and change between two terms during the showing period(August 18 and October 21).


The art products held by the Imperial Family were donated to the government in 1989 when the Emperor Showa (father of the current emperor) passed away. This museum was open in 1993 as a facility to preserve,study and display those collections.
The museum is small but the inside is great. It is worthwhile to visit once when you visit the Imperial Palace. Please be careful of the opening time/hours. It’s closed on Monday and Friday. Opening hours are 9:00am to 4:15pm (last entry is 4:00pm). Check the schedule more precisely with HP of the Imperial Household Agency.

Depending upon how you watch the works, you may be able to finish watching in a short time. It is possible to visit this museum for quick look after our tour. Free admission!!!

(posted by Yoshi)