【Exhibition】Washoku. Nature and Culture in Japanese Cuisine. National Museum of Nature and Science, Ueno, Tokyo. March 14th – June 14th 2020.
Ever since washoku (traditional Japanese cuisine) was added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2013, global interest in Japanese cuisine has been growing. The “Washoku” exhibition to be held at Tokyo’s National Museum of Nature and Science, the first major exhibition on the theme, examines washoku from diverse perspectives.
Washoku has developed with the flexible introduction of foreign influences and its evolution continues today. Considering also other distinctive Japanese culinary styles such as the yōshoku (Western-inspired) cuisine which grew from the Meiji Era, this illuminating and easily digested exhibition features the wide-ranging ingredients derived from the natural wealth of the Japanese archipelago, and techniques such as fermentation developed through centuries of experimentation. The exhibition also examines historical transformations of washoku from ancient to modern times through a rich variety of samples, exhibits and interactive images. The exhibition seeks, through the medium of washoku, to shed new light on Japan’s rich natural environment and the the ways that this has enhanced the lives of the people who live there.
A meal that would have been served to Queen Himiko, early 3rd century in spring. The luxurious dishes include seasoned boiled rice; salted grilled sea bream; taro; bamboo shoots, and simmered pork. Osaka Prefectural Museum of Yayoi Culture.
A banquet served in wooden dishes, based on excavations at the palace of Prince Nagaya of ancient Nara. Many of the ingredients, including shrimp; octopus; eggplant; bamboo shoots; butterbur, and cow’s milk, are easily recognizable today. The small dishes in the foreground contain seasonings such as salt so that each guest could season the food to their own taste. Compiled under the supervision of Okumura Ayao, Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties.
Introducing over twenty different types of daikon radish developed through selective breeding. Pictured is a range of local daikon breeds from northern Japan. Photo courtesy of Sasaki Hisashi, lecturer at Tōhoku University.
Men far outnumbered women in the city of Edo, most of them living away from home. Food stalls selling inexpensive items such as sushi and tempura sprang up everywhere, to serve the needs of these single men. This image shows what they would have looked like. The background image is a detail from Toto meisho Takanawa nijuroku ya machi yugyo no zu (Amusements While Waiting for the Moon on the Night of the Twenty-sixth in Takanawa, a Famous Place in the Eastern Capital), a woodblock print by Utagawa Hiroshige. Edo-Tokyo Museum Collection.
Special Exhibition. Washoku. Nature and Culture in Japanese Cuisine.
Venue: National Museum of Nature and Science, 7-20 Ueno Park, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Period: Saturday March 14 – Sunday June 14, 2020.
Hours: 09:00-17:00 (Till 20:00 on Fridays and Saturdays)
※Also until 20:00 on Sunday 26th April, Wednesday 29th April, and Sunday 3rd –Tuesday 5th May; and until 18:00 on Monday 27th-Tuesday 28th April, Thursday 30th April, and Wednesday 6th May.
※Last entry 30 minutes before closing.
Closed: Most Mondays, as well as Thursday 7th May, and Tuesday 19th May.
※Open on Monday 30th March, 27th April, 4th May, 18th May, and 8th June.
※Opening dates and times are subject to change.
Admission: (Same day tickets) Adults and college students, 1,700 yen. Elementary, junior high and high school students, 600 yen. Pre-schoolers, free of charge. People with Japanese disabled person’s identity card, free of charge (including one accompanying person).
Tickets allow same-day entry to the museum’s permanent exhibitions (Japan Gallery and Global Gallery)