Special Exhibition

Special Exhibition

The 75th Annual Exhibition of Shōsō-in Treasures

Tōdai-ji Temple in Nara has preserved a group of precious objects for over a millennium in a storehouse (<i>kura</i>) on its grounds known as the Shōsō-in. Each year, about sixty from this group of around 9,000 are selected for display at the Annual Exhibition of Shōsō-in Treasures. This year marks the 75th occasion of the important event. As ever, the lineup of treasures showcases the allure and breadth of the furnishings, musical instruments, attire, Buddhist ritual implements, and historical documents comprising an internationally renowned and unmatched collection.

South Section
Bronze Mirror with Floral Design in Mother-of-Pearl and Amber on the Back

What is the Annual Exhibition of Shōsō-in Treasures?

Each year in the fall, the Imperial seal behind which the Shōsō-in Treasures are stored in the Repository at Tōdai-ji Temple is opened for a short window of time for inspection. During this period, a selection of treasures is put on display to make the treasures accessible to the general public at the Annual Exhibition of Shōsō-in Treasures. The group of treasures brought out each year are selected to give a sense of the collection as a whole and to feature works that have drawn attention through recent research findings. The first exhibition was held in 1946 at what was then the Nara Imperial Household Museum. With the exception of three subsequent exhibitions in Tokyo (held in 1949, 1959, and 1981), the show has opened in Nara every year since.

What are the Shōsō-in Treasures?

While the treasures preserved through the centuries in the Shōsō-in Repository are believed to have entered the storehouse through various circumstances, the majority of them can be divided into the following three groups: 1. Those presented as offerings by Empress Kōmyō (701–760) to the Great Buddha of Tōdai-ji on the twenty-first day of the sixth month in Tenpyō Shōhō 8 (756) after the forty-nine days of mourning following the passing of Emperor Shōmu (701–756; r. 724–749); 2. Various objects and implements used during ceremonies at Tōdai-ji; and 3. Materials connected to the administration of Tōdai-ji and its Scriptorium from the Tōdai-ji Construction Bureau (Zō Tōdaiji Shi). There are also various ritual implements that were used in ceremonies at the palace, weaponry, and instruments. The breadth and variety of the treasures suggests several threads of history and provenance interweaving the collection’s objects.


Saturday, October 28th–Monday, November 13th, 2023

The museum is open every day for the entire run of the exhibition.


The East and West New Wings of the Nara National Museum in Nara, Japan


8:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M., and until 8:00 P.M. on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays

Last entry is sixty minutes before closing.


General Admission2,000 JPY (Late Entry: 1,500 JPY)
University and High School Students1,500 JPY (Late Entry: 1,000 JPY)
Junior High and Elementary School Students500 JPY (Late Entry: Free)
  • The Late Entry discount is available with timed-entry tickets only and applies from Monday through Thursday after 4:00 P.M. and after 5:00 P.M. on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays.
  • Excluding those benefitting from free admission, all tickets are timed-entry and must be purchased prior to one’s arrival at the museum.
  • Ticket sales will end as soon as the tickets made available for each timed-entry window have been sold out.
  • Tickets for this exhibition will not be on sale at the Nara National Museum ticket window.
How to Purchase Timed-Entry Tickets

Tickets go on sale Thursday, October 5th at 10:00 A.M.
Please note that you cannot change, cancel, or reissue your timed-entry tickets, and there are no refunds.

Tickets are available for purchase through the following vendors and methods:

Museum Entry and Viewing the Exhibition
  • You will not be permitted to enter the museum on a day or window of time other than that designated on your ticket.
  • Depending on the circumstances in the galleries, you may be admitted slightly before the start of your ticket’s timed-entry window, and you may be asked to wait a little after it begins.
  • Because the galleries are typically at their most crowded at the start of each timed-entry window, we recommend that you plan on arriving at the museum soon after the start of the time slot designated on your ticket.
  • There is no rotation of works on display.
  • You may use your timed-entry Shōsō-in Exhibition ticket for admission to the Nara Buddhist Sculpture Hall and the Chinese Ritual Bronzes Gallery.
  • There is no parking lot available at the museum. Please be so kind as to abstain from visiting the museum by car.

About This Year’s Treasures

Of the fifty-nine treasures included in this year’s exhibition, six are displayed for the first time.

There are nine from the North Section, twenty-four from the Middle Section, twenty-three from the South Section, and three from the Shōgozō.


The exhibition has been planned and organized by the Nara National Museum with the special cooperation of the Yomiuri Shimbun. It is sponsored by: Iwatani Corporation, INDEN-YA Co., Ltd., SGC Co., Ltd., NIPPON TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE WEST CORPORATION, Kansai Electrical Safety Inspection Association, Kyoto Arts and Crafts University, Kintetsu Railway Co., Ltd., Central Japan Railway Company, West Japan Railway Company, Shionogi Healthcare Co., Ltd., DAIKIN INDUSTRIES, LTD., Daicel Corporation, Daiwa House Industry Co., Ltd., Nakanishi Metal Works Co., Ltd., Maruichi Steel Tube Ltd., and YAMATO NOEN Co., Ltd. with the cooperation of Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) Nara Station; Nara Kotsu Bus Lines Co., Ltd.; Nara Television Co., Ltd.; Nippon Kodo Co., Ltd.; Bukkyō Bijutsu Kyōkai (Buddhist Art Foundation); and Yomiuri Telecasting Corporation.

Major Works

Quilted Nine-Panel Kesa in Mottled-Colors
North Section
(Previously exhibited: 1999)
Cup Carved from Rhinoceros Horn
North Section 16
(Previously exhibited: 2012)
Folding Screen Panels with Clamp-Resist Dyed Design of Birds and Flowers
North Section 44
(Previously exhibited: 2010)
Documents Related to Rōben, to the Priest Dōkyō, and Others from the Collection of Old Documents in the Shōsō-in (Shōsōin komonjo seishū); Scroll 7
Middle Section 15
(Previously exhibited: 2010)
Serpentine Stone Lidded Vessel in the Shape of a Chinese Softshell Turtle
Middle Section 50
(Previously exhibited: 2010)
Penknife with Handle of Mottled Rhinoceros Horn, Lacquered Sheath, and Scrolling Gold Fittings Inset with Gems
Middle Section 131
(Previously exhibited: 1993)
Wood Offering Box with Floral Design Painted in Gold and Silver on a Blue Ground
Middle Section 151
(Previously exhibited: 2011)
Fragments from a Six-Sided Zushi Lacquered Shrine
Middle Section 204
(Displayed for the First Time)
Carved Flower-Shaped Lidded Vessel with Gold and Silver Painting
South Section 36
(Previously exhibited: 2005)
Small Sandalwood Rack
South Section 5
(Previously exhibited: 2012)
Bronze Mirror with Floral Design in Mother-of-Pearl and Amber on the Back
South Section 70
(Previously exhibited: 2009)
Biwa Lute Made of Sappan-Stained Maplewood with Mother-of-Pearl and Painting
South Section 101
(Previously exhibited: 2004)
Performers Riding an Elephant, Biwa Lute Made of Sappan-Stained Maplewood with Mother-of-Pearl and Painting (Detail, Plectrum Guard)
South Section 101
(Previously exhibited: 2004)
Nishiki Fabric with Mandarin Ducks on a Red Ground Used as an Ornamental Weight on a Large Banner
South Section 180
(Previously exhibited: 2012)
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