Treasures from Ninnaji Temple and Omuro: Masterpieces of Tenpyo Art and Shingon Esoteric Buddhism

About the Exhibition

Ninnaji, which is famed for its Omuro cherry trees, is a Shingon Esoteric Buddhist temple that was initiated in 886 (Ninna 2) by the order of Emperor Koko and completed in 888 (Ninna 4) under his successor, Emperor Uda. The deep devotion of successive generations of emperors has made the temple home to numerous exceptional paintings, calligraphies, sculptures, and decorative art. The Seated Amida Nyorai (National Treasure) that was the original principal icon of the temple at the time of its founding was created by the top studio of the day. Other objects, such as the Imperial Letter in the Hand of Emperor Takakura (National Treasure), further attest to the story of the deep connection between the temple and the imperial household. This exhibition presents the masterpieces passed down at Ninnaji together under one roof.

In addition, the approximately 790 temples in Japan affiliated with the Omuro branch, of which Ninnaji is the head temple, have numerous exceptional Buddhas of their own. This exhibition presents an historic opportunity to view a number of "hidden Buddhas" normally inaccessible to the public. For example, one of the greatest masterpieces of Tenpyo-era sculpture, the Seated Senju Kannon Bosatsu (National Treasure) of Fujiidera, will be shown outside of the temple for the first time since the Edo period (1603–1868).

Ninnaji is currently undergoing a complete disassembly and restoration of its Kannon Hall. This is normally a training space that is not open to the public, but this exhibition offers the opportunity to experience the solemn atmosphere of the normally inaccessible hall with a display that features the hall’s thirty-three enshrined figures as well as high-resolution reproductions of its wall paintings.

Treasures from Ninnaji Temple and Omuro / List of Works / PDF / 980KB

Ninnaji Temple and the Omuro Branch

Omuro (literally, "the venerable room") originally referred to a room (a monk’s quarters) at Ninnaji that was provisioned for Retired Emperor Uda, who had built the temple. After Emperor Uda abdicated the emperorship to his son Emperor Daigo, he took the tonsure, becoming a monk and pouring his energies into the maintenance of Ninnaji as an Esoteric Shingon temple. From the Kamakura period onward, the term "Omuro" became frequently used to refer to Ninnaji itself. The Omuro branch of the Shingon Buddhism is currently formed from approximately 790 institutions throughout Japan that were branch temples of Ninnaji since before the Azuchi-Momoyama period (late 16th century) and preserve the history and tradition of the imperial temple to the present day.

Ninnaji Temple
Ninnaji Temple

General Information


Tuesday, January 16 - Sunday, March 11, 2018


Heiseikan, Tokyo National Museum (Ueno Park)

13-9 Ueno Park, Taito-ku, Tokyo, 110-8712, Japan


9:30 - 17:00, Fridays, Saturdays until 21:00

(Last entry 30 minutes before closing)



(Except for Monday, February 12) and February 13


Tokyo National Museum, Ninnaji Temple, The Yomiuri Shimbun

With the Special Assistance of

Ninna Association

With the Assistance of

Sabia Inc.

With Sponsorship of

Mitsumura Printing Co.

General Inquiries

03-5777-8600(Hello Dial)



Day Ticket

Advance Ticket

Group Ticket


1,600 yen

1,400 yen

1,300 yen

University students

1,200 yen

1,000 yen

900 yen

High school students

900 yen

700 yen

600 yen

  • * Junior high school students and under: Free
  • * Prices shown in parentheses indicate advance and group (more than 20 persons) discount tickets.
  • * Persons with disabilities are admitted free with one accompanying person each (please present an ID at the ticket booth).
  • * Advance tickets will be on sale at the museum ticket booths (during museum opening hours excluding the last 30 minutes) and other major ticketing agencies from November 1, 2017 to January 15, 2018.
Tokyo National Museum Heiseikan(Ueno Prak)

13-9 Ueno Park, Taito-ku, Tokyo, 110-8712, Japan
Tokyo National Museum

  • 10 minutes' walk from JR Ueno Station (Park exit) and Uguisudani Station
  • 15 minutes' walk from Keisei Ueno Station, Tokyo Metro Ueno Station and Tokyo Metro Nezu Station