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The Nezu Institute is located in the Aoyama (Minato ward) area of Tokyo, Japan. It was founded in 1940 by Kaichiro Nezu on the strength of his private collection. His collection contained a vast range of objects, including paintings, calligraphy, sculpture, ceramics, textiles, and archaeological objects, primarily gathered from China, Korea, and Japan.

Chief among his interests was tea and utensils for the tea ceremony. Oddly, Nezu became interested in the tea ceremony after a visit to America in 1909 at the age of 50. He took up the practice of the ceremony and began collecting tea utensils avidly, including Japanese iron kettles and Korean tea bowls from various periods. Also, since the tea ceremony is not only about tea, the tea ceremony collection includes such items as incense boxes, celadon vases, and paintings, among them paintings by the Chinese master, Muxi.

Nezu's private collection also included Buddhist and Shinto paintings from the Kamakura era to the Muromachi era.

The museum has received several gifts of other private collections, and thus its permanent collection has been enriched. These gifts have added, among other things, some more modern Asian art and an extensive array of Korean ceramics to the museum. At present the museum's collection consists of over 7000 objects, including seven National Treasures, 81 Important Cultural Properties, and 99 Important Art Objects.1

The museum's exhibition space was completely destroyed in 1945, during the firebombing of Tokyo. However, it was rebuilt in 1954, and more gallery space has since been added. The museum also has a large garden and statuary which it shares with seven teahouses.

To get to the Nezu Institute, take the subway to the Omotesando station. Use exit A5. From there it is an easy 8 minute walk. The price of admission (1000 yen for adults at time of writing, less for students, seniors, and children) permits you access to all the exhibitions as well as the garden.

1National Treasures, Important Cultural Properties, and Important Art Objects are designated by the Japanese government.
Source: Museum materials.

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