Exhibition Schedule

Closed for renovation until 2025 spring.


24 Shimomiyanomae-cho, Shishigatani, Sakyo-ku Kyoto, Japan 606- 8431
Email: info@sen-oku.or.jp


Free to Museum visitors.

About the museum

SEN-OKU HAKUKOKAN MUSEUM and SEN-OKU HAKUKOKAN MUSEUM TOKYO are art museums focusing on the collection of the Sumitomo family.
The Sumitomo Collection contains works in a broad range of fields, including ancient Chinese bronzes; Chinese, Japanese, and Western paintings and calligraphy; modern ceramics; tea ceremony utensils; writing tools; and Noh masks and costumes.
Located in Kyoto and Tokyo, the two museums hold exhibitions taking advantage of the characteristics of their respective locations.

Most of the items in the Sumitomo Collection were acquired by the fifteenth head of the Sumitomo family, SUMITOMO Kichizaemon Tomoito (nicknamed “Shunsui”), during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Shunsui laid the foundation for the modern Sumitomo Group by expanding the family business from copper mine operation into various fields and promoting modernization. Meanwhile, he also showed a high degree of interest in art and culture and left a significant mark on cultural social enterprises, including the donation of construction and book purchasing costs for a library in Osaka Prefecture in 1900.
At the same time, he was fond of the tea ceremony, as well as classical Japanese performing arts such as Noh, and decorated the alcoves of his residence with Japanese paintings of the four seasons. Motivated by admiration for the Chinese literati, he enjoyed Chinese-style sencha tea ceremonies and seal engraving in his study, surrounded by writing tools. He was also an active supporter of Japanese Western-style painters in his day and built a Western-style villa on the scenic Suma coast, where he enjoyed a Westernized lifestyle that was progressive for its time. With his wide-ranging interest in culture, Shunsui collected fine artworks from all different eras and parts of the world.

At the center of the Sumitomo Collection are Chinese bronze vessels highly prized both in Japan and abroad. SEN-OKU HAKUKOKAN MUSEUM was established in 1960 with the donation of more than 500 Chinese bronze vessels and mirrors by the Sumitomo family. Rather than stashing his collection away, Shunsui shared it widely through various means such as exhibitions, increasing public recognition of Chinese bronzes. He also made significant contributions to the research field through the publication of splendid catalogs.
The attitude and ideals of Shunsui’s social contributions through culture have been handed down to posterity and form the basis of the museum’s current operations.

The collection has been further enhanced through the addition of works by masters of late Ming and early Qing Chinese painting such as Bada Shanren and Shitao, as well as the great modern Japanese Western-style painter KISHIDA Ryusei, acquired by Shunsui’s eldest son Kan’ichi, along with works by leading twentieth-century Western painters such as Picasso and Renoir, as well as Japanese painters from the same period, collected by the sixteenth head of the Sumitomo family, Tomonari.