Welcome to the website of Tenri University Sankokan Museum.
The museum was established for the purpose of displaying objects that would broaden our knowledge of the lifestyles and histories of people from various regions of the world and thereby help us understand their ways of thinking. The museum procures, preserves, and displays ethnographical and archaeological objects, as well as conducts research whose findings are shared with the public through the permanent exhibition and feature exhibitions. The museum has a Computer Search Area and a Reading Area for the convenience of visitors and holds educational activities such as public lectures and workshops.
We hope that you will enjoy this website as well as visit Tenri University Sankokan Museum.
250 Morimedo, Tenri, Nara 632-8540
9:30 A.M.-4:30 P.M. (admission until 4:00 P.M.)
Tuesdays [When a national holiday falls on Tuesday, the museum closes on Wednesday instead. The museum stays open every day during the following periods: April 17-19, July 26-August 4, and the 25th-27th of every month with the exception of December 27.]
April 28 (anniversary of the museum’s founding)
August 13-17 (summer closure)
December 27-January 4 (year-end and New Year’s season)
Adults: 400 yen (300 yen for adults in groups of 20 or more)
Elementary and junior high school students: 200 yen
Take the JR Sakurai line or the Kintetsu Tenri line to Tenri station. The museum is a 30-minute walk east-southeast. If approaching from the Meihan Expressway, exit at Tenri-Higashi Interchange and drive south about 3 km. Parking lot available.
Groups: Large groups are requested to inform the museum prior to their visit.
Wheelchairs, strollers, and portable ROM players for the audio guide (in Japanese, English, Chinese, Korean, and Portuguese) are available in limited quantities. Please inquire at the reception desk on floor 1.
The permanent exhibition is displayed on floors 1-3. On floors 1 and 2, which depict “Life and culture of the world,” the exhibits include ethnographical materials collected from both overseas and within Japan as well as transportation-related items. Displayed on floor 3, depicting “Antiquities of the world,” are archaeological artifacts including excavated objects. Each floor is subdivided into galleries and corners focusing on specific themes. Presently on display in the permanent exhibition are approximately 3,000 items from the museum’s total collection of over 280,000 items.
The museum also offers feature exhibitions and temporary exhibitions, and it holds exhibitions at Tenri Gallery in Tokyo.
The feature exhibitions, held three or four times a year, each have a unique theme. These are intended to deepen public interest in the museum.
The temporary exhibitions are generally held in a corner of the Japanese ethnographical materials gallery on floor 2. These are seasonal exhibits displaying, for example, traditional hina dolls in March and warrior dolls in May.
The museum also holds exhibitions twice a year at Tenri Gallery, which is located on the 9th floor of Tokyo Tenri Kyokan Building (Kanda-Nishiki-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo).
Tenri University Sankokan Museum’s Collection
The museum has a total collection of more than 280,000 items, including 30,000 ethnographical objects from overseas, 25,000 ethnographical objects from Japan, 26,000 archaeological artifacts, and 200,000 transportation-related items.
Shozen Nakayama, the second Shinbashira of Tenrikyo, proposes the idea of collecting materials for a museum at the first entrance ceremony of Tenri School of Foreign Languages (presently Tenri University).
Chinese ethnographical materials collected by the second Shinbashira are displayed from April 25 to 27 at Tenri Middle School (presently Tenri High School) and, on April 28, the Overseas Reference Materials Room is opened in a classroom on the fourth floor of Tenri School of Foreign Languages. That marked the beginning of this museum.
The Overseas Reference Materials Room moves to three rooms on the third floor of Tenri School of Foreign Languages. A traditional Korean house, dismantled and brought to Japan, was reassembled and named “Korean Reference Materials Pavilion.”
The Overseas Reference Materials Room moves to the East Precincts Workshop (located on the site of the present East Center Wing of the Oyasato-yakata building-complex) and is renamed Overseas Reference Materials Hall. Its first publication, Catalogue of Reference Materials Concerning Manchurian and Chinese Customs, is published.
The Overseas Reference Materials Hall becomes affiliated to the Tenrikyo Institute for the Research of Asian Cultures.
The navy appropriates the building that houses the collection, forcing the Overseas Reference Materials Hall to relocate to Tenri Kyokan. The Korean Reference Materials Pavilion is dismantled.
The navy appropriates Tenri Kyokan, whereupon the collection is moved to the Corridor of Tenrikyo Church Headquarters and Tenri Central Library. The office is temporarily moved to Tenri Central Library.
With the disbanding of the navy, the collection and office return to the East Precincts Workshop. Archaeological artifacts as well as items related to Hawaii and the Incas, which had been kept at Tenri Central Library, are transferred to the Overseas Reference Materials Hall.
The first issue of Tenri Sankokan Sosho is published.
The museum’s affiliation is transferred from the Tenri Institute for Cultural Research (formerly Tenrikyo Institute for the Research of Asian Cultures) to Tenrikyo Church Headquarters.
The museum becomes affiliated to Tenri University and is renamed Tenri University Sankokan Museum. The collection is exhibited at Tenri University’s Kansuyama Hall. This marks the beginning of the museum’s permanent exhibition.
The museum is moved to East Left Wing 3 of the Oyasato-yakata building-complex, and a provisional exhibition is held.
In commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of Oyasama, the museum’s permanent exhibition is opened to the public. The Ministry of Education officially recognizes Tenri University Sankokan Museum as “a museum-equivalent institution.”
Tenri Gallery is opened on the 9th floor of Tokyo Tenri Kyokan Building.
The first of a series of guidebooks to the museum’s collection is published.
Furu Site Excavation Research Team, which includes members of the museum staff, is organized.
Tenrikyo Furu Site Excavation Research Team is organized, and Tenri Sankokan Museum’s Branch Office is established.
Tenrikyo Furu Site Excavation Research Team is renamed Tenrikyo Team for the Research of Archaeological Artifacts.
The “Friends of the Museum” circle is organized, and public lectures called “Sankokan Talks” are begun. Special rooms for feature exhibitions are set aside, and the museum’s first feature exhibition, entitled “Yellow River Civilization in the Han Dynasty,” is held.
The first issue of Tenri Sankokanpo, the museum’s annual bulletin, is published.
Plans are made to construct South Right Wing 1 of the Oyasato-yakata building-complex to house Tenri University Sankokan Museum. The ground-breaking ceremony is conducted.
The construction of South Right Wing 1 is completed.
The museum is opened in South Right Wing 1.