Japan Kanji Museum & Library

Everyone, from children to adults, can enjoy the whole day having fun in this first-of-its-kind museum with all its hands-on tasters about kanji

Encounter, learn and enjoy kanji

Once Chinese characters had arrived in Japan, the Japanese modified them, developed them and invented their own unique written culture.
The Kanji Museum & Library is a place where visitors can encounter, learn about and enjoy the history and special features of Japanese kanji from their germination in a hands-on experiencing manner. On the 1st floor, the eye is caught by individual ideographs of “the kanji of the year” written by the head priest of Kiyomizu-dera Temple. The ability to encapsulate social sentiment in one kanji that is beautiful in shape and symmetry truly is captivating. Also, there is fortune telling using inscripted bones and tortoise carapaces, man’yogana (early Japanese syllabary) stamps and a 30-meter-long “kanji history scroll” on the wall to be seen. Moving to the theater room, visitors can familiarize themselves with the world of kanji on film. And, through various writing styles from pictographs through to present day and other materials across the ages, visitors can learn the history of kanji as well as take mini tests or try paper rubbing and other fun in a “hands on” corner.
The highlight of the museum is the “kanji tower” made up of some 50,000 characters and passing from the 1st to the 2nd floor. Try finding your name from the ocean of characters! And, up on the 2nd floor, a popular photo spot is the gigantic cup covered in names of fish. Other attractions include a row of booths where you can learn kanji while having fun in a theme park amusement, like “revolving sushi bar kanji” and “living things in a kanji picture book”. And, what is more, the museum also holds planned exhibitions and lectures.

photo2nd floor reception

2nd floor reception

photoKanji history picture scroll

Kanji history picture scroll

photoThis year’s kanji

This year’s kanji


Which kanji are the oldest, the origin of them all?

Address 551 Gion-machi Minamigawa, Higashiyama-ku
TEL 075-757-8686
FAX 075-531-0340
URL http://www.kanjimuseum.kyoto
Hours 9:30~17:00 (entry by 16:30)
Closed Mon (following day if Nat Hol), New Year Hols, Temporary hols may be taken
Adm Adults: ¥800, High school and college students: ¥500, Elementary and junior high school students: ¥300
Access A 10-min walk from Exit 2 of the Subway Tozai Line Higashiyama Stn/A 5-min walk from Keihan Gion-Shijo Stn/An 8-min walk from Hankyu Kawaramachi Stn/ Very close to Gion stop of City Bus

Facilities near by

photo:Tofuku-ji Temple – Head Temple of Rinzai Sect

Tofuku-ji Temple – Head Temple of Rinzai Sect

Treasures that have survived repeated fires to reach us today

photo:Kodaiji Sho Museum

Kodaiji Sho Museum

Toyotomi Hideyoshi cherished the Kodaiji Makie lacquer wares

photo:Kyoto eastern landfill site (Ecoland Otowa-no-mori)

Kyoto eastern landfill site (Ecoland Otowa-no-mori)

photo:Lake Biwa Canal Museum of Kyoto

Lake Biwa Canal Museum of Kyoto

Birth and history of canal that sustained Kyoto

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