The Nijo-jo Castle Painting Gallery was built to preserve and display the original wall and sliding-screen paintings of the Ninomaru-goten Palace. Construction began in 2003, the 400th anniversary of Nijo-jo Castle, and was completed in October 2005, when the gallery opened to the public. The paintings are designated as Important Cultural Properties by the Japanese government.
The paintings are arranged on movable panels, which are brought out of storage and displayed in the gallery’s glass-covered cases for the usually quarterly changing exhibitions, assembled around a theme or specific room in the palace. Although they have been removed from the castle rooms, the paintings are arranged in the same order and relative positions as they were when they were in situ.
The entrance hall of the gallery displays examples of ornamental interior hardware from the castle, and artifacts unearthed from the castle grounds. It is hoped that these exhibits will spark further interest in the castle.
2021-2022 Nijo-jo Castle Painting Gallery Original Mural Exhibitions
|Spring Exhibition||Cherry Blossoms and Landscapes from the Shogun’s Point of View: Murals in the Kuroshoin Meeting Rooms
Thursday, April 22 to Sunday, June 20, 2021
Meeting Rooms of the Ohiroma as the Scene of Historical Events
First period: Ni-no-ma from the Shogun’s Perspective
Thursday, July 15 to Sunday, August 23, 2021
Second period: Ichi-no-ma Surrounding the Shogun
Friday, September 3 to Sunday, September 26, 2021
|Fall Exhibition||Pioneering Edo-Period Painting: Kano Tan’yu Masterpiece Matsukujaku-zu in the Ohiroma San-no-ma
Thursday, October 7 to Sunday, December 5, 2021
|Winter Exhibition||Murals of the Tozamurai “Tiger” Rooms: King of Bamboo Forest as the Guardian of the Palace
Monday, December 20, 2021 to Sunday, February 20, 2022
* The Painting Gallery is closed from December 29 to 31.
- A note about the paintings on view
- The Painting Gallery displays on average 30 paintings (of the total 1,016 paintings designated as Important Cultural Properties) at any given time. Exhibition durations are also limited to protect the works from deterioration. Visitors are advised to check the exhibition schedule, or inquire in advance to find out if a specific painting is on view at the time of their visit.
Please note: Last admission to the castle grounds is at 16:00.
July – August
Please note: Last admission to the castle grounds is at 17:00.
The above are required in addition to admission to the castle grounds. Admission to the Painting Gallery is free to preschool age and younger children.
Reproduction and Conservation of Ninomaru-goten Palace Paintings
Two projects are under way to protect and preserve the murals and sliding-screen paintings in the Ninomaru-goten Palace: one is large-scale conservation work funded in part by the national government, and the other is the production of reproductions for replacing the originals inside the palace. The aim of the conservation work is to preserve for posterity the over 400-year-old paintings in their current state by keeping the original paint and paper support intact. As a rule, this involves replacing all substrate and backing paper to ensure a stable condition during storage. While absolutely no reconstructive treatment is applied to the original artworks undergoing conservation work, the aim of reproduction is to reconstruct the paintings’ early 17th-century appearance. In these reconstructed facsimiles, the applicable shapes, hues, and brush strokes are chosen after careful consideration so as to supplement what is lost, and eliminate later additions. Because the reproductions employ traditional materials and techniques, the project also serves to drive the study and preservation of traditional art techniques. Nijo-jo Castle’s ongoing commitment to these projects is based on the idea that the significant time and cost required by the conservation and reproduction of these cherished cultural legacies are justified by the value they hold for future generations.