Asuka Historical Museum 

About Asuka Historical Museum

 This is a museum with a historical focus, which opened in 1975 at Okuyama in the village of Asuka, in conjunction with special legislative measures aimed at preserving the historic features of the Asuka region. The Asuka period and region are the objects of its displays, with exhibits made centering on the results of investigations conducted in the Asuka area by the Department of Imperial Palace Sites Investigations (Asuka/Fujiwara). In addition to the regular exhibits there are special exhibitions held twice yearly in the spring and autumn, and lectures have also been held. Recently, in order to make the Institute’s research activities more widely known, planned exhibits based on the research achievements of the Institute as a whole have been held.
 The regular exhibit consists of Exhibit Halls 1 and 2. Exhibit Hall 1 deals with Asuka’s palaces, stone objects, mounded tombs, temples, plus the Soga clan, with exhibits made centering on artifacts recovered from various sites, to promote knowledge of the history of the Asuka period. The palace exhibits show the changes which have become clear, through excavations conducted in the central part of Asuka, in the precinct of the traditional site of the Asuka Itabuki palace, and there is also a model of the Mizuochi site, well known as the locus of a water clock accompanying the palace. For stone objects, there are a stone carving with male and female images and a stone representation of Mt. Sumeru displayed within the museum, together with replicas of stone objects displayed in the museum’s garden, some of them spouting water to recreate their original condition. For mounded tombs, artifacts recovered from the Takamatsuzuka tomb are exhibited, along with life-size replicas of the murals of the Kitora tomb on ceramic plates, and for temples, items discovered at the Asuka and Kawaradera temples are on display. Also, exhibits have been set up anew in relation to what is recently becoming known about the Soga clan, and the immigrants under their leadership.
 Exhibit Hall 2 features a reconstruction using recovered architectural members, which have been designated as national Important Cultural Properties, from the eastern corridor of the cloister of Yamadadera temple, plus displays of similarly designated materials recovered from the same temple site.
 During the 2010 fiscal year, special exhibits were held in the spring on “The Four Directional Deities of the Kitora Tomb Murals,” and in the autumn on “The Dawn of Wooden Documents: Ancient Letters Gather in Asuka.” Planned exhibits were held in the summer on “The Big Story of Small Stone Tools,” and in the winter on “Archaeology in Asuka 2010.” For the spring special exhibit, with the cooperation of the Agency for Cultural Affairs all of the mural paintings of the Four Directional Deities were specially displayed at the same time, drawing many visitors to the museum. In the future as well, with cooperation from national and regional government agencies, more exhibits of this nature and the research supporting them will be conducted.


Head, Curatorial Section
KATO Shinji
NIWA Takafumi
NARITA Satoshi
Head, Affairs Section


National Institutes for Cultural Heritage
Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties

2-9-1, Nijo-cho, Nara City
630-8577 Japan

TEL +81-742-30-6752
FAX +81-742-30-6730