Special Exhibition
The Artistic Cosmos of Hon’ami Kōetsu

Hon’ami Kōetsu (1558–1637) created groundbreaking works of art in a variety of genres during a time of warfare and political turmoil in Japan. These artworks had a tremendous impact on Japanese culture for generations to come. However, Kōetsu’s oeuvre is as profound as a vast cosmos, making it difficult to comprehend in its entirety.

To better understand the context that drove Kōetsu’s artistic genius, this exhibition examines a social group known as the hokke machishū — townspeople who followed the Lotus Sutra, a Buddhist text also devoutly worshipped by Kōetsu and his family. This social group is the thread that connects Kōetsu’s psychological realm — as expressed through his ceramic art and calligraphy — with the creative activities of contemporaneous artisans who were united by a common faith. These artisans produced a variety of art objects in response to the society they lived in, including lacquerware lavishly decorated with gold. This exhibition aims for a comprehensive examination of Kōetsu by juxtaposing the latest art historical research with insights into the religious beliefs of the time.

As stated in a record known as the Hon’ami Gyōjōki, Kōetsu was known as an “eccentric” who “throughout his life, hated to follow others.” Driven by a firmly grounded aesthetic sense supported by unwavering religious faith, Kōetsu produced numerous masterpieces. How do these treasures appear to us in the present day? The exhibition explores this very question.

Overview & Access

Special Exhibition
The Artistic Cosmos of Hon’ami Kōetsu
January 16-March 10, 2024
Heiseikan, Tokyo National Museum (Ueno Park)
  • * Last admission 30 minutes before closing
Mondays (except for February 12) and February 13
Tokyo National Museum, NHK, NHK Promotions Inc., The Tokyo Shimbun
With the Sponsorship of
Mitsumura Printing Co.,Ltd.
With the Assistance of
Genesis of Japanese Culture & Art
General Inquiries
(+81)-50-5541-8600 (Hello Dial)
Tokyo National Museum
Heiseikan, Tokyo National Museum (Ueno Park)
13-9 Ueno Park, Taito-ku, Tokyo 110-8712, Japan
JR Lines : 10-minute walk from Ueno or Uguisudani Station
Tokyo Metro Lines : 15-minute walk from Ueno or Nezu Station
Keisei Lines : 15-minute walk from Keisei Ueno Station
Tokyo National Museum Official Website


Adults ¥2,100 (¥1,900)
¥1,300 (¥1,100)
High school
¥900 (¥700)
  • * Prices in parentheses indicate discount ticket prices for advance purchase.
  • * Free admission for junior high school students and younger. Please present proof of age when entering the museum.
  • * Free admission for persons with disabilities and one caregiver of individuals with disabilities.
    Please present a certificate of disabilities when entering the museum.
  • * Visitors can view this exhibition without making reservations, but you may be asked to wait if the exhibition is crowded.
  • * You cannot cancel after you have made your purchase.
  • * During the exhibition there will be rotation in which some of the artworks will be replaced with other works.
  • * Visitors with tickets for this exhibition may also view the regular exhibitions on the day of their visit at no extra charge.