KYOTO (Kyodo) -- Ryukoku Museum, believed to be the world's first comprehensive Buddhist museum, opened Tuesday in Kyoto's Shimogyo Ward.
The three-story museum with a basement was launched by Ryukoku University, a private university based on the spirit of the Shin Buddhism school, to introduce the origin and history of Buddhism, as well as various cultural assets associated with the world renown religion.
In addition to its permanent exhibits, stored items at the university will be on display in featured exhibitions scheduled to be held several times a year. The articles possessed by the university include artifacts collected during an early 20th century expedition in central Asia led by Japanese Buddhist leader and explorer Kozui Otani.
In commemoration of the museum's opening, it is currently holding a special exhibit titled, "Buddha and Shinran," displaying some 660 Buddhist statues and scriptures from Japan and other Asian countries. It will run until March 25, 2012, to coincide with the 750th anniversary next year of the passing of Shinran, the founder of Shin Buddhism.
Admission is 500 yen for adults, 400 yen for senior citizens 65 and older and for college students, and 300 yen for high school students. Junior high school students and younger children can get in for free.