About the Museum

About Us

The History of the Nara Palace Site Museum:
The Nara Palace Site and the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties

Thanks to the locals' grassroots efforts at the turn of the last century, the area around the Latter Imperial Audience Hall and the Eastern State Halls compounds was designated a Historic Site in 1922. Later, in 1952,

recognizing the site's cultural significance, the Japanese government designated it as Special Historic Site. Then, in 1998, the Nara Palace Site earned a designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the "Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara."

The Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (NABUNKEN) was established in 1952 to excavate this gigantic site starting from 1959. NABUNKEN is the leading institution in Japan in research related to the Nara period, the Nara Palace, the Nara Capital, and immobile cultural heritage in general.

Our Museum was built in 1970--inside the Nara Palace Site, on top of the remains of the Imperial Stable Bureaus--with the mission to present the excavation results about the Nara Palace and Nara Capital Sites to the public. However, after the Nara Palace Site Historical Park opened in March 2018, our mission has changed. The newly-built Heijokyu Izanai-kan (Guidance Center) is the facility inside the site now focusing on presenting general information about the sites to the public. As a result, our Museum now showcases the research conducted at NABUNKEN instead while supervising the exhibitions of the Heijokyu Izanai-kan.