Nara: Night at the Museum: World of Kukai Offered in English

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Buddha statues are seen at a special Kukai exhibition at the Nara National Museum on April 13.

A nighttime tour of the special exhibition, “Kukai: The Worlds of Mandalas and the Transcultural Origins of Esoteric Buddhism,” will be offered at the Nara National Museum in Nara from 5 p.m. on May 20 for foreign residents in Japan.

Kukai (774-835), born in present-day Kagawa Prefecture, is one of the most celebrated Buddhist monks in Japanese history. After studying esoteric Buddhism in China, he founded the Shingon sect of Buddhism in Japan. He was also known as a masterful calligrapher.

The exhibition, which runs through June 9, commemorates the 1,250th anniversary of Kukai’s birth. A total of 115 items will be on display, including 59 important cultural properties and 28 national treasures, such as “The Five Wisdom Buddhas” and “Ritual Implements for Esoteric Buddhist Practice,” which Kukai is believed to have brought back from China. The Yomiuri Shimbun is one of the organizers.

The nighttime tour, titled “Night at the Museum” will be hosted by the Waizu Club International, run by The Yomiuri Shimbun Osaka headquarters, providing opportunities for foreign residents to become more familiar with Japanese culture and history. At the tour, English commentary will be provided by a curator originally from the U.S. in a quiet atmosphere.

Up to 30 people can participate and admission is free, but they must post about the exhibition on social media. To apply, send an email with the following information — (1) name, (2) organization, (3) title at the organization, (4) telephone number, and (5) social media account — to by May 10. If there are too many applicants, a drawing will be held and the winners will be notified.

Waizu Club International is also accepting membership applications from foreign residents who would like to participate in its activities in the Kansai region. If you are interested in the membership, visit   or contact