If you’ve every visited Kyoto, there’s a very high probability that you’ve visited this museum and even looked upon its exhibits without being fully aware that you were. Confused? So was I until my eagle eye spotted the clue that would bust this case wide open!
The Best Hidden Open Museum
The Kyoto Stone Museum exists as stone pillars on the outside of the Central exit on the ground floor of Kyoto Station. You’ll see the post office on your left and the bus terminal straight ahead. The massive stone pillars are the museum!
When you get up close, you’ll get to see the names and places of origin for each stone. There is a small placard in Japanese explaining the museum to you, which I have translated and edited here for your convenience:
There are 288 types of stones collected at 6 Pavilion on the north side of Kyoto Station. The stones come from 35 main stone-producing countries. In fact, there are 73 types of stones affixed to this building. The name of the stone is not the scientific (latin) name but the more commonly-known name of the stone. The name of the stone can vary depending on region, but the ones displayed here are just one such example.-Placard at Kyoto Station, Kyoto Stone Museum
While I did scope out a good two dozen or so stone displays, I didn’t have time to find all of them on the pillars. Just know that next time you are exiting to the North side of Kyoto Station, there’s a colorful cornucopia of stones waiting for you just outside!