National Museum of Art Osaka

National Museum of Art, Osaka

The National Museum of Art, Osaka is a renowned art museum located in the Kita-ku district of Osaka, Japan. Opened in 1977, the museum is known for its impressive collection of contemporary Japanese art, as well as its diverse range of exhibitions and special events. The museum is housed in a striking subterranean building that blends seamlessly into its surroundings, and features a range of exhibition spaces, including a large central hall, galleries, and a sculpture garden.

Visitors to the National Museum of Art, Osaka can expect to be impressed by the museum’s extensive collection of modern and contemporary Japanese art, which includes works by some of the country’s most celebrated artists.

National Museum of Art Osaka

The museum also hosts a range of temporary exhibitions and special events throughout the year, showcasing everything from traditional Japanese art to cutting-edge contemporary works.

Key Takeaways

  • located in the Kita district in Nakanoshima
  • An impressive collection of contemporary Japanese art
  • Housed in a striking subterranean building
  • Open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (on Fridays & Saturdays until 8:00 p.m.)
  • Closed on Mondays


National Museum of Art Osaka

The National Museum of Art, Osaka has a rich history that dates back to the Expo Museum of Fine Arts at Expo’70, held in Suita in the outskirts of Osaka. The museum was established in 1977 as the first national art museum in Japan. Its aim was to promote contemporary art and to provide a platform for both Japanese and international artists to showcase their works.

Designed by César Pelli & Associates Japan, the museum is located on Nakanoshima Island, in the heart of Osaka’s business district. It occupies two underground floors and features a unique architectural design that blends in seamlessly with the surrounding environment.

Over the years, the museum has hosted numerous exhibitions featuring works by both established and up-and-coming artists. One of the most notable exhibitions was the “Picasso and His Time: Masterpieces from Museum Berggruen / Nationalgalerie Berlin” exhibition in 2008, which attracted thousands of visitors from all over the world.

Today, the National Museum of Art, Osaka continues to be a major cultural institution in Japan, attracting visitors from all over the world who come to admire its impressive collection of contemporary art and to experience its unique architectural design.


The National Museum of Art, Osaka is a subterranean museum located on the island of Nakanoshima, between the Dōjima River and the Tosabori River, in central Osaka. The museum was designed by architect Arata Isozaki and opened in 1977. The museum’s design features a unique octagonal shape, with a central atrium and galleries surrounding it. The museum’s entrance is marked by a striking glass pyramid, which allows natural light to illuminate the space below.

The museum’s interior is spacious and modern, with high ceilings and concrete walls. The galleries are arranged around the central atrium, which provides a dramatic focal point for visitors. The museum’s design also incorporates a number of outdoor spaces, including a sculpture garden and a courtyard. The museum’s subterranean location means that it is well-insulated and maintains a consistent temperature throughout the year, making it an ideal environment for the display of delicate artworks.

The museum’s recent renovation, completed in 2020, was overseen by architect Yoshio Taniguchi. The renovation included the addition of a new entrance hall, which features a large glass facade and provides a more welcoming and accessible entrance for visitors. The renovation also included upgrades to the museum’s lighting and climate control systems, ensuring that the museum can continue to display artworks in optimal conditions.


The National Museum of Art, Osaka is home to an impressive collection of over 8,000 works of art by Japanese and overseas artists. The collection predominantly features contemporary art from 1945 onwards, making it Japan’s largest collection of contemporary art.

The museum’s collection can be searched using the Union Catalog of the Collections of the National Art Museums, Japan database, which provides detailed information on each piece of art in the collection. The collection is organized into several categories, including graphic design works, prints, watercolors, sketches, photographs, oil paintings, and “Nihonga” style Japanese paintings.

One of the highlights of the museum’s collection is its extensive collection of graphic design works. The museum’s graphic design collection includes works by prominent Japanese designers such as Ikko Tanaka, Tadanori Yokoo, and Yusaku Kamekura, as well as works by international designers such as Paul Rand and Saul Bass.

Another notable aspect of the museum’s collection is its collection of “Nihonga” style Japanese paintings. Nihonga is a style of Japanese painting that combines traditional Japanese painting techniques with Western-style painting techniques. The museum’s collection of Nihonga paintings includes works by prominent Japanese artists such as Taikan Yokoyama, Gyokudo Kawai, and Shunso Hishida.

In addition to its permanent collection, the museum also hosts a variety of temporary exhibitions throughout the year. These exhibitions showcase a wide range of art from both Japanese and international artists, providing visitors with a unique and diverse cultural experience.


The National Museum of Art, Osaka is known for its impressive collection of contemporary art from Japan and abroad. The museum regularly holds special exhibitions that explore new and exciting themes in the world of art. The exhibitions are well-curated and showcase a range of mediums, including painting, sculpture, photography, and video installations.

One of the current exhibitions at the museum is Picasso and His Time: Masterpieces from Museum Berggruen / Nationalgalerie Berlin. This exhibition features over 100 works of art by Pablo Picasso and other artists of his time. Visitors can view pieces from the Museum Berggruen in Berlin, which has one of the most significant collections of Picasso’s work in the world. The exhibition is a must-see for fans of modern art.

In addition to the special exhibitions, the museum also has a permanent collection. The collection includes over 5,000 works of art, primarily from the post-World War II era. The collection is divided into three categories: Japanese art, Western art, and contemporary art. The Japanese art section features works by famous Japanese artists such as Yayoi Kusama and Tadanori Yokoo. The Western art section includes works by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Francis Bacon, and Andy Warhol. The contemporary art section showcases works by emerging artists from Japan and around the world.

Another unique exhibition at the museum is the Mel Bochner special feature. Mel Bochner is an American conceptual artist who is known for his use of language in his artwork. The exhibition features a selection of Bochner’s works, including his famous “Thesaurus” series. The series consists of paintings that use words and phrases arranged in alphabetical order, creating a visual representation of language.


Visiting Information

The National Museum of Art, Osaka is a must-visit destination for art lovers visiting Osaka. Here are some important details to keep in mind before you go:

Opening Hours 10:00-17:00 (last admission 16:30)
Extended Hours (Fridays and Saturdays) 10:00-20:00 (last admission 19:30)
Closed Mondays (the following day when holidays fall on Monday)

It’s important to note that the museum may close for exhibit rotation in some cases, so it’s always best to check the official website for any updates or changes to the schedule.

Admission fees are as follows:

  • General Admission: 430 yen
  • College Students: 130 yen

Children under the age of 18 and seniors over the age of 70 are admitted free of charge. The museum also offers discounts for groups of 20 or more people.

The National Museum of Art, Osaka is located at 4-2-55 Nakanoshima, Kita-ku, Osaka. The nearest transport options are the Keihan Nakanoshima Line, which stops at Watanabebashi Station, and the Osaka Metro Yotsubashi Line, which stops at Higobashi Station. From either station, it’s a short walk to the museum.