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“Overrated and overpriced: nothing special”

Tokugawa Art Museum
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Discover the legacy of Samurai Tokugawa Family in...
Ranked #10 of 477 things to do in Nagoya
Certificate of Excellence
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Reviewed 6 April 2017

I was so looking forward to visiting this museum after doing research on things to do in Nagoya. As a history buff, the hype and information on the web was irresistible. With over 1000 historical items in their collection, including several suits of armour worn by Ieyasu Tokugawa himself, we thought wow this place is certainly worth checking out and scheduled a whole afternoon for it. How wrong we were.
At 1200¥ per person, I thought this place was overrated and overpriced. There's virtually nothing special about it. 5 huge rooms with about 10 to 20 items in each, very little English information on the labels (of course I can see it is a 'bowl' but what century is it from? Who owned it? I would not even call the labels basic, they were simply perfunctory). The English leaflets they foisted on us at the door (the ladies were definitely trying to help by rushing about getting them for us) were actually not that useful as they're exactly what we have read in the web already and only served as a general background to the theme of each room. As for the contents? Nada. Room 1 was supposed to be the armour and weapons of Tokugawa, well, only one full samurai suit of the 11th Tokugawa ruler in the 19th century, almost at the end of their reign, how useless and uninteresting is that? If you go on the web, they claim to have a number of Tokugawa Ieyasu's armour from the 17th century, so why didn't they put one out at least? That would have been an awesome and significant display. And only about 6 samurai swords (thankfully 4 were owned by Ieyasu himself so really really special). Room 2 was all about the Tea Ceremony, even then about 7 bowls and a full dining set, what the? These appear to be very very old too, from the 17th century, but meh, nothing in context for us. Who, what, why? We enjoyed Room 3 on the Noh theatre ,with 3 masks and 5 costumes and some musical instruments, at least we got to watch a short film of a Noh performance, quite interesting actually, although we much preferred the Kyogen plays, they're funny! The other rooms were basically of the same ilk, not much to look at and pretty generic labels. We even got lost and wandered into the library section which had a rather uninspiring display on Japanese script. Even the museum shop (often my favourite destination in museums) was hideously expensive I dared not pick up anything in case I dropped it and had to pay for it. Overall, we were pretty underwhelmed, especially as it also cost us to get a taxi to and from this place to the train station. Pity as all the staff there were really nice and friendly, albeit with basic English, it didn't make up for a truly disappointing visit.

4  Thank geckopoo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"noh theatre"
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"historical items"
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10 - 14 of 382 reviews

Reviewed 18 January 2017

Unique, with large exhibits, of one of Japan's most (historically) important families. I have been the 4 times and I do not tire of the impact and beauty of the displys. It is not the largest museum but it is my favorite.. and I have been to hundreds of museums around the world. walk slow when you go.

1  Thank reallyhungryguy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 January 2017

This was a late addition to our itinerary as we thought it was going to rain. Together with the gardens (see other review) it turned out to be the highlight of our day. The museum has some amazing exhibits from the Tokugawa period and they are mostly in extraordinary condition. It is easy to imagine a samurai striding through the village in these intricate and dramatic looking outfits. There are also some original art works and pages from the Tale of Genji - written in the 11th century and of enormous significance in Japan. Again, this was unexpected and a real treat. The museum itself is in immaculate condition and very well maintained, with lots of English translations. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend.

Thank anzen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 November 2016 via mobile

Great building with beautiful vistas out to the garden and grounds.

Some highly informative displays about life in the palace.

Also some first class exhibits including the scrolls.

Some are copies but still marvellous.

Combine this visit with a walk round the stunningly good gardens.

1  Thank AUSTIN l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 18 October 2016

this museum was just outstanding. All displays minimalistic in the Japanese way. Samurai costumes on display were amazing.

1  Thank CEC939
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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