Kyushu National Museum
See Japan through the lens of Asia at one of Japan's four National Museums.
When this museum opened in 2005, it set a historical landmark by being the first national museum to open on the island of Kyushu and for being Japan’s fourth National Museum. Since Dazaifu, where the museum is located (close to Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine), has a long history of fostering relationships between Japan and other Asian countries, the Kyushu National Museum’s focus is on presenting Japanese history through an Asian lens. The three other national museums are located in Tokyo, Nara, and Kyoto.
Upon entering the museum, you’ll find the main portion on the fourth floor, where you can learn about the history of Japan from the Prehistoric Era to the Edo Period through 11 mini exhibitions, accompanied by a variety of short films that are located throughout.
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The third floor of the museum houses special exhibitions that are held four times a year, while the second floor is home to its conservation and restoration facilities and also acts as a storage area for artefacts.
The museum sometimes offers special workshops in conjunction with special exhibitions, such as photo opportunities and arts-and-crafts classes.
Going back to the first floor of the building, there is an area called Ajippa, which is a portmanteau of “Asia” and “harappa”, the Japanese word for “playground” in English. Here, you can try your hand at playing instruments from all over Asia and listening to the everyday sounds that you’d hear while living in various Asian countries.
In addition to being a prestigious national museum, the Kyushu National Museum also hosts an array of concerts that range from classical to jazz. For those who are interested in steeping themselves in Japanese culture, tea ceremony demonstrations are also offered at the museum. And as an important institution of Fukuoka Prefecture, it’s no surprise that you can find a yamakasa float at the museum in the weeks leading up to the Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival in July.