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Ryukoku Museum


Ryukoku Musuem, a comprehensive buddhist museum unlike any other that introducing Buddhism from its birth until the present in an easy to understand manner

Ryukoku Musuem, a comprehensive buddhist museum unlike any other that introducing Buddhism from its birth until the present in an easy to understand manner

Born in India, Buddhism made its way to Japan using the northern and southern routes via China and the Korean peninsula. From the life of Gautama Buddha, the roots of Buddhism, and the teaching of Buddhism in various areas, to the spread and history of Buddhism in Japan, the museum introduces Buddhism in an easy to understand manner using various methods based on a foundation of exhibiting actual artifacts. In addition, there are Special and Focus Exhibits held a few times a year where research project results in various fields from both the university and from outside projects are disclosed.

Concept Exhibitions

During the Concept exhibition period the 2nd floor exhibition room focuses on "Buddhism in Asia" and the 3rd floor exhibition room focuses on "Buddhism in Japan", thus tracing the birth and spread of Buddhism.

The theme for the exhibits span from "The world of Gautama Buddha" that introduces the birth of Buddhism in India to "The road traveled by Buddhism" which traces the arrival of Buddhism in Japan via Central Asia. In addition, the "Otani Expedition" collection will also be on exhibit. The Otani Expedition was the first group in Japan to perform an academic investigation of the route taken by the eastward spread of Buddhism.

Rendition of 2F exhibition room

"Buddhism in Japan" introduces how Buddhism was brought to Japan, how it spread, the differences between religious factions and their teachings. The theme for the exhibits is "Shinran Shonin and Shin Buddhism" which introduces the teachings of Shinran Shonin, the development of Shin Buddhism and the history of Hongwanji. In addition there are also exhibits that introduce the history of Ryukoku University, which was founded approximately 370 years ago as a college of Nishi Hongwanji.

Rendition of 3F exhibition room

Otani Collection

Kozui Otani, the 22nd chief priest of Hongwanji School of Shin Buddhism, dispatched three expeditions across Asia 1902 and 1914. This collection consists of approximately 9,000 items that were used by the Otani Expedition members, the first academic expedition in Japan to trace the route of the eastward spread of Buddhism, as well as the items they brought back.

The Otani Expedition progressing through the desert

Important Academic Materials Held by Ryukoku University

Important academic materials held by Ryukoku University, with its history of more than 380 years, is planned on being exhibited.

National Treasure "Ruiji Koshu"
These writing are a collection of the songs of Manyoshu categorized by theme. These writings are the only known copies to exist of the Ruiji Koshu.
National Treasure Ruiji Koshu
Important Cultural Property "Nenbutsushiki"
These are the writings of a Jippan Nakagawa, a priest from the late Heian period. They are literature related to Southern Shin Buddhism and was written in 1135 while the author was still alive. (784-1185)
The Nenbutsushiki consists of the teachings of the practices of Shin Buddhism known as Gonenmon (Five Practice-Gate of Mindfulness: prayer, admiration, purification, observation and dedication).
Important Cultural Property "Rihaku Sekitokuko"
Drafts of letters from the first half of the 4th century brought back by the Otani Expedition dispatched to Central Asia. One of the oldest materials in the world to be written on paper.
Important Cultural Property "Honkan Sekkeizu"
The blueprints for Ryukoku University's Daikyoko (current Honkan, main building) and dormitories (current North and South School Buildings) on the current Omiya Campus, completed in the 12th year of Meiji (1879). These building are also designated as National Important Cultural Properties.

For details on these materials as well as other academic materials held by Ryukoku University, please see the "Ryukoku University Library Collection Site".