Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (奈良文化財研究所)
Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties is a department of National Institutes for Cultural Heritage. The institute conducts research of (buried) cultural property in an ancient capital, Nara as well as excavation research of Heijo-kyo and Fujiwara-kyo. It also runs museums in Nara City and Asuka-mura. The institute is called "Nabunken" for short. The incumbent Manager of the institute is Ikuo TANABE (Professor at Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties/former Head of the Division of Asuka/Fujiwara Palace Site Investigations).
April 1952: Nara Research Institute for Cultural Properties was founded in Kasugano-cho, Nara City, as Heijo-kyo Palace Site was designated as a special historic site in the same year.
July 1954: The institute was renamed as the Nara National Cultural Properties Research Institute. 1960: The office of the Heijo Palace Site Investigations (currently called as the Division of the Heijo Palace Site Investigations) was established in the institute. 1968: The institute was made an auxiliary organization when the Agency for Cultural Affairs was inaugurated.
April 1973: The Division of Asuka/Fujiwara Palace Site Investigations was set up. The Center for Archaeological Operations was opened in the next April.
March 1975: The Asuka Historical Museum was opened in Okuyama, Asuka-mura.
April 1980: The institute building was relocated to Nijo-cho, Nara City.
Excavation of Prince Nagaya's mansion was conducted from 1986 to 1989.
1998: Cultural property of ancient capital, Nara, including Heijo Palace Site was registered as the world heritage of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization.
April 2001: The institute was integrated with Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, granted the status of Independent Administrative Institution National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, thus became Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties.
April 2007: Independent Administrative Institution National Research Institute for Cultural Properties was integrated with Independent Administrative Institution National Museum, and became Independent Administrative Institution National Institutes for Cultural Heritage.
There are the Department of Administrative Management (3 divisions with an instructor), the Department of Cultural Heritage (3 sections), the Department of Heijo Palace Site Investigations (6 sections with an instructor), the Department of Asuka/Fujiwara Palace Site Investigations (4 sections), and the Asuka Historical Museum (Curatorial Section) under the Manager. There is also an organization for scientific research, the Center for Archaeological Operations (7 sections).
Facilities open to public
The Heijo Palace Site Museum (Nara City): The museum displays excavated artifacts or model buildings of Heijo-kyo which was Japan's ancient capital in the eighth century.
The Division of Asuka/Fujiwara Palace Site Investigations Reference Room (Kashihara City): The reference room is in charge of excavation research at archaeological sites in Asuka/Fujiwara region and exhibition of excavated artifacts from Fujiwara Palace Site.
Although, the Suzaku-mon Gate (restored in the Heijo Palace Site) as well as the Excavation Site Exhibition Hall and the Former Imperial Audience Hall (under restoration) belong to Agency for Cultural Affairs, the museum cooperates in administration and research.
The institute conducts joint researches with National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage (Korea) and Institute of Archaeology Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (China) and offers training for officials from developing countries who are in charge of cultural property. The institute will set the research theme covering the whole East Asia.