The museum has one of the most extensive collections of premodern (pre-1800) Japanese and Asian art in the world
The Kyoto National Museum, then the Imperial Museum of Kyoto, was proposed, along with the Imperial Museum of Tokyo (Tokyo National Museum) and the Imperial Museum of Nara (Nara National Museum), in 1889, and construction on the museum finished in October, 1895.
The museum was opened in 1897. The museum went through a series of name changes, in 1900 changing its name to the Imperial Household Museum of Kyoto, and once more in 1924 to the Imperial Gift Museum of Kyoto.
The current name, the Kyoto National Museum, was decided upon in 1952.Since its founding in 1897, the Kyoto National Museum-located in the early capital of Japan with its long history and rich culture has enjoyed many visitors.
The cultural arts that flourished here spread to the rest of Japan, creating artistic expressions often defined as "Japanese."
In this sense, most of what is called Japanese art and culture are closely connected to Kyoto.
It is, thus, my wish that our Museum, while taking root in this historical city, will continue its endeavor in presenting Japanese art.