In the Edo period, the daimyo family Hosokawa that ruled over Kumamoto had a residence in Mejirodai. Eisei Bunko Museum holds about 6 thousand pieces of artwork including 8 National Treasures and 32 Important Cultural Properties, and about 90 thousand pieces of ancient and valuable documents.
The 16th head of the family, Moritatsu was known as one of the greatest art collectors in modern Japan. He established Eisei Bunko Museum in 1950 to preserve and research cultural assets. Moritatsu Collection is known for profound Zen paintings by Hakuin and Sengai who were both Zen monks in the middle of the Edo period, modern Japanese paintings by Taikan Yokoyama and Shunso Hishida, and ancient Chinese artwork.
The collection is on exhibit divided into 4 sessions a year. The foundation celebrates the 70th anniversary in 2020. And this year starts with the exhibition “Ancient Chinese and Oriental Art ~ National Treasure, Hosokawa Mirror is open to public for a limited period” from February 15 to April 15. A National Treasure known as Hosokawa Mirror is on exhibit. And they also show ancient Chinese artworks like Kinginsakushuryomonkyo, Oriental artworks that have been rarely exposed, and modern Western paintings about China.
And “New theory of Mitsuhide Akechi ~ Military commanders who supported Nobunaga” is to be held from April 25 to June 21, which focuses on Mitsuhide Akechi who was acquainted with the first head of Hosokawa family, Fujitaka. From July 4 to August 30, the 3rd exhibition “Okina (provisional title)” introduces Noh culture which the heads of Hosokawa family were interested in. And the last one is “Master pieces of Eisei Bunko ~ The Art Lord, Moritatsu Hosokawa’s collection commemorating the 50th anniversary of his death” from September 12 to November 8.
The building of Eisei Bunko Museum was used to be an office that Marquis Hosokawa built at the beginning of the Showa period. Its elegant structure would be a must-see. After you see it, you may visit Higo – Hosokawa Garden on the ruins of the Hosokawa family’s Shimoyashiki (daimyo’s suburban residence). You can think of the modern history of Japan at the spot related to Hosokawa family which has seen the changing times.
Open: 10:00 – 16:30 (last admission 16:00) Close: Mondays (if Monday falls on a public holiday, closed on the following Tuesday), during the change of exhibition, year-end and New year holidays Fee: Adult 800 yen, senior (70 years and older) 600 yen, students 400 yen, younger than junior high school student free (as of January 2020)