At the beginning of 17th century, Sumitomo Family launched a copper smelting and refining business in Osaka. With the discovery of Besshi copper mine in late 17th century which became the basis of its growth, Sumitomo as group of companies developed its business in various areas of Japanese industries.
Kichizaemon (Shunsui, as his pseudonym) Sumitomo (1864-1926) was the 15th family head in this growing era of Sumitomo group. The collection of Museum’s ancient Chinese bronze objects, which were affinity with Sumitomo’s original business, was established by Shunsui Sumitomo and it was also used in tea ceremonies. With growing intellectual and aesthetic interests, the collection expanded to the quality and quantity highly acclaimed as one of the best collections outside China. He also made collections of Eastern and Western paintings, calligraphy, Japanese tea utensils, Noh masks and costumes. He decorated his residences and villas with these collections which reflect Shunsui’s tastes.
SEN-OKU HAKUKOKAN MUSEUM was originally established in Kyoto in 1960 to preserve and exhibit Shunsui’s collections of Chinese bronze objects and it has been expanded to include the other works of art collected by Shunsui Sumitomo and other Family members. In 2002, SEN-OKU HAKUKOKAN MUSEUM Annex was opened in Roppongi, Tokyo, on the site of former Sumitomo villa. Although some of the collections of Shunsui were lost during World War II, about 3500 artworks, including 2 national treasures, 13 important cultural properties, and 60 art treasures, have been preserved today.
Today SEN-OKU HAKUKOKAN MUSEUM holds exhibitions in two of major international cities in Japans, one in Shishigatani, at the foot of Higashiyama Mountains, Kyoto and one in Roppongi, at the business area, Tokyo.
Address: Zipcode 606–8431 Shimo-miyanomaecho 24, Shishigadani, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto
Access: Higashi-tenno-cho or Shimo-miyanomae-cho bus stop, Kyoto municipal bus
Open: March through June, September through December
Hours: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM (enter before 4:30 PM)
Closed: Mondays (excluding national holidays)
Admission fee ¥800 for adults,¥600 for students