It was sunny summer afternoon 1920, when writer and collector Felix Jasieński decided to vest his whole (6500 exhibits) art collection related toJapan to National Museum. Nine years later, when he died, the exhibition has been closed because of no free space to show. Only in 1944 it was shown for the last time. By chance young polish director, Andrzej Wajda, saw this exhibition and felt in love with Japanese culture.

In 1987, so after almost half century, the same Andrzej Wajda (little bit older :) received a film award in Kyoto and decided to spent this money to found a place, where Japanese collection, which he has seen in 1944, could be exhibited permanently. Japanese Government and Cracow authorities supported this idea. East Japan Railway Workers’ Union with president Akira Matsuzaki donated the equivalent of approximately 1 million US dollars to the Kyoto-Kraków Foundation created by Andrzej Wajda and friends.

The building, which we can see from Vistula Boulevards, was designed pro bono by Arata Isozaki (celebrated Japanese architect) with Krzysztof Ingarden by polish site. The exterior features of this modern building—the roof resembles the sea in many old Japanese paintings—echo both the museum’s surroundings and some of the art housed within; the garden next to the building is a gift of the City of Kyoto.

Museum was opened in 1994 and was visited by Emperor Akihito and his wife Michiko in 2002. The Emperor and his wife donated some audio-visual equipment to the Centre (for the school of Japanese language). Whole museum received a Special Award of the Japanese Foundation in 1997.

Nowadays we can learn Japanese language there, classic Origami or Ikebana art and how to make traditional Japanese tee.