Special Exhibitions & Feature Exhibitions

Special Exhibition

Buddhist Art Paradise
Jewels of the Nara National Museum

At the Special Exhibition Buddhist Art Paradise: Jewels of the Nara National Museum, photography is permitted for all of the exhibited works, for the object labels and explanatory text, and throughout the galleries. We invite you to take pictures that will allow you to revisit your experience of the exhibition and the masterworks on display.

The Nara National Museum opened in 1895 as the second national museum in all of Japan. Since its conception, it has been dedicated to the preservation and exhibition of Buddhist works from temples and shrines located in the ancient capital of Nara. Renowned worldwide as a treasure house of Buddhist art, the Nara National Museum—known throughout Japan as “Narahaku”—has a diverse collection of over 2,000 artworks and objects spanning prehistory to the first part of the twentieth century. The collection is particularly rich in Buddhist statuary, Buddhist paintings, sutra manuscripts, and the decorative and ritual objects used to adorn Buddhist temples and ceremonies.

The special exhibition Buddhist Art Paradise: Jewels of the Nara National Museum celebrates the museum’s long history and its radiant holdings with ten thematic sections. The first nine present a selection of masterworks tracing the 1,400 years of Buddhist art in Japan. These sections encompass treasures from ancient temples established at the dawn of Japanese Buddhism, Buddhist statues and paintings that emerged out of the religious contexts of esoteric Buddhism (mikkyō) and Pure Land Buddhism, and works representing a combinatory faith in Buddhist deities and kami, the localized gods and goddesses of what is known in modern times as the Shinto religion. The final section showcases hidden gems from the collection encompassing a wide range of periods and genres.

The title of this exhibition in Japanese is “Narahaku Zanmai.” “Zanmai” derives from the Sanskrit word “samādhi,” which refers to an advanced level of meditative contemplation involving the attainment of total concentration on the object of one’s focus. In the Buddhist practice of kanbutsu zanmai, practitioners aspire to this state of complete absorption in visualizing a Buddhist deity’s form, conjuring the Buddha through contemplation of his auspicious bodily marks. We hope that you achieve a state of immersion in the splendor of Buddhist art and in the forms of the Buddhist pantheon through the many masterworks of the Nara National Museum collection on display in the exhibition.

National Treasure
Eleven-Headed Avalokiteśvara
(Nara National Museum)


Saturday, July 17th–Sunday, September 12th, 2021 (Reiwa 3)
First Rotation:            Saturday,July 17th–Sunday, August 15th
Second Rotation:       Tuesday, August 17th–Sunday, September 12th


The museum is closed on Mondays, with the exception of August 9th.
9:30 A.M. – 6:00 P.M. (On Saturdays, the museum is open until 7:00 P.M.)

*Last entry is thirty minutes before closing.
*On Sunday, August 15th, the Buddhist Sculpture Hall and the Chinese Ancient Ritual Bronzes Gallery will stay open until 7:00 P.M. for the Chūgen Mantōrō Lantern Festival at Kasuga Taisha Shrine.


The East Wing and West Wing, Nara National Museum


AdmissionSame-day TicketsAdvance Tickets  
General Admission¥1,500¥1,300
University & High School Students¥1,000¥800
Elementary & Middle School Students¥500¥300
  • Advance Tickets can be purchased from Monday, May 24th to Friday, July 16th.
  • There is no timed-entry for this exhibition.
  • The number of guests admitted to the museum may be limited should the galleries become crowded.
  • Tickets are on sale at the Nara National Museum Ticket Office, at major Kintetsu stations, through Lawson Ticket (L-code: 51726), Ticket PIA (P-code: 685-658), E-Plus and other such ticket agencies, Seven Eleven and other convenience stores.


Nara National Museum, The Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) Nara Station, NHK Enterprises, INC. Kinki Branch Office.


Iwatani Corp., Daiwa House Ltd., Co., Hihakaikensa Co., Ltd.

In Cooperation with

Nippon Kodo Co., Ltd., Bukkyō Bijutsu Kyōkai (Buddhist Art Foundation)

  • デジタルビューア
  • e国賓
  • なら仏像館
  • ColBase