Exhibition Outline

The ancient Tendai temple of Rakuyaji located in Koka city, Shiga Prefecture, is said to have had its beginnings in 792 (Enryaku 11), when Saicho carved a Buddhist image from a sacred oak tree while visiting the area of Ichino (also read Rakuya) in search of materials for the construction of Enryakuji temple. It is a treasury of Heian sculpture that houses twenty figures designated Important Cultural Properties, which is an exceptional number even for Shiga Prefecture, where numerous outstanding Buddhist sculptures still survive.

This exhibition marks the first time that all twenty sculptures will be presented together outside of the temple grounds. Among them, the temple’s principal icon, the seated Eleven-headed Kannon Bosatsu (Ekadasamukha) measures three meters high and is normally hidden from view. The stately figure, with a sense of gravity, is a masterpiece of Buddhist statuary from the mid-10th century. Joining this figure is a seated Yakushi Nyorai (Bhaisajyaguru) that also measures more than two meters high, as well as a standing Bishamonten (Vaisravana) purportedly enshrined by the ancient general Sakanoue no Tamuramaro, and a seated Jizo (Ksitigarbha) bearing an inscription stating that it was made at the wishes of several thousand worshippers. These masterpieces of Heian sculpture from Rakuyaji appear on view together at the Tokyo National Museum.

The temple of Rakuyaji appears in essayist Shirasu Masako’s book Kakure-zato (Hidden village), which shines a light on quiet towns somewhat removed from the main highways. The sacred figures will bring to Ueno the mystical atmosphere that still remains to this day in the village of Ichino.


The Hidden Buddha of Rakuyaji Temple, Shiga


Tuesday, September 13, 2016 – Monday, January 9, 2017


Honkan Room T5, Tokyo National Museum (Ueno Park)

13-9 Ueno Park, Taito-ku, Tokyo 110-8712
Inquiries: 03-5777-8600 (Hello Dial)
URL: http://www.tnm.jp/


  • 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


9:30 – 17:00 (Last entry 30 minutes before closing)

  • * Friday, December 9, Friday, December 16, Friday, December 23, 2016 and Friday, January 6, 2017 until 20:00


Mondays(except January 2 and 9), from December 24, 2016 to January 1, 2017

Organized by

Tokyo National Museum, Rakuyaji Temple, The Yomiuri Shimbun

With the Support of

TBS Radio, Inc.

With the Sponsorship of

Nissha Printing Co., Ltd.

With the Cooperation of



03-5777-8600 (Hello Dial)

Admission(tax included)


1000 (900) yen

University students

700 (600) yen

High school students

400 (300) yen

Junior high school students and under


  • * Prices shown in ( ) indicate advance and group (more than 20 persons) discount tickets.
  • * Persons with disabilities are admitted free with one accompanying person each.
  • * 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 Friday, July 15 to Monday, September 12, 2016.