The Fabulous Museums in Hakone

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  • Besides relaxing hot springs and breathtaking scenery in Hakone, our other favorite pastime is visiting the many museums in Hakone.

    Symphonic Sculpture - The Fabulous Museums in Hakone | www.justonecookbook.com

    We visit Hakone each year when we go to Japan. It’s a short drive or train ride from the Tokyo area and a great way to escape the hectic modern life. The main perks of visiting the area is the ryokan stay, exquisite kaiseki meals, and of course the relaxing hot springs.

    Besides relaxing your body and soul. the cool part about Hakone is that there are many things to do. From the nearby Odawara Castle to the Hell Valley Owakudani, the choices are plenty.

    Another interesting part about Hakone is the number of world-class museums in this sparsely populated area (just 12,000 residents). Here are two of our favorite museums below and we hope this guide will help you decide which museums in Hakone you might want to visit.

    The Hakone Open-Air Museum

    Located in the center of Hakone near Gora is the spacious and inspirational Hakone Open-Air Museum. Opened in 1969, Hakone Open-Air Museum is Japan’s first outdoor open-air museum of art. The museum ground is over 15 acres (70,000 sq meter) and surrounded by beautiful green mountain scenery in Hakone.

    As you visit during different seasons, you get to experience distinct sceneries. You might see sakura blooming in the spring, leaves changing colors in the fall, or snow-covered ground in the winter.

    Entrance to The Hakone Open-Air Museum - The Fabulous Museums in Hakone | www.justonecookbook.com

    There are over 120 pieces of outdoor art on permanent display that visitors can observe up close. We don’t really know much about sculptors but most works on display are done by famed artists such as Henry Moore (known for his mother-and-child and reclining figures).

    Reclining Figure: Arch Leg by Henry Moore - The Fabulous Museums in Hakone | www.justonecookbook.com
    Reclining Figure: Arch Leg by Henry Moore

    Round Plaza

    The first area you will enter after the entrance is the round plaza. There are a number of large sculptures here including interesting pieces by Takao Tsuchida.

    Sound of Wind by Takao Tsuchida and Man and Pegasus by Carl Milles in the back - The Fabulous Museums in Hakone | www.justonecookbook.com
    Sound of Wind by Takao Tsuchida and Man and Pegasus by Carl Milles in the back
    child posing in front of a statue - The Fabulous Museums in Hakone | www.justonecookbook.com
    Life imitating art?
    La Pleureuse by Francois-Xavier and Claude Lalanne - The Fabulous Museums in Hakone | www.justonecookbook.com
    La Pleureuse by Francois-Xavier and Claude Lalanne

    Continue on the path to the east side of the museum and you’ll see a very interesting play structure. It’s Curved Space-Diamond Structure by Peter Pearce. You might wonder what it represents and it’s actually the diamond crystal enlarged 8 billion times.

    Curved Space-Diamond Structure by Peter Pearce - The Fabulous Museums in Hakone | www.justonecookbook.com
    Curved Space-Diamond Structure by Peter Pearce

    The path continues with a large lawn on the right side with sculptures including the recognizable Sphere Within Sphere.

    Sphere Within Sphere by Arnaldo Pomodoro - The Fabulous Museums in Hakone | www.justonecookbook.com
    Sphere Within Sphere by Arnaldo Pomodoro

    Not all the art pieces are always attached to the ground, such as My Sky Hole by Bukichi Inoue.

    My Sky Hole by Bukichi Inoue - The Fabulous Museums in Hakone | www.justonecookbook.com
    Check out our reflections!

    The next area had a star-shaped maze. It was closed off to visitors when we visited but perhaps open from time to time for people to explore?

    The Garden of Star Maze - The Fabulous Museums in Hakone | www.justonecookbook.com
    The Garden of Star Maze

    Woods of Net

    On the other side of the maze is the Woods of Net structure. Our curiosity took us inside and our kids absolutely had a blast.

    Woods of Net created by Tezuka Architects - The Fabulous Museums in Hakone | www.justonecookbook.com
    Woods of Net created by Tezuka Architects

    Inside the wooden structure is a knitted playground where kids can hang, climb, and bounce around. Make sure to make a stop especially if you are visiting with children.

    Knitted Wonder Space 2 by Horiuchi MacAdam - The Fabulous Museums in Hakone | www.justonecookbook.com
    Knitted Wonder Space 2 by Horiuchi MacAdam

    Green Plaza

    Normally, visitors would go to Picasso’s Pavillion after Woods of Net but it was closed during our visit. The good part is there were still plenty to see on the east side of the park including many sculptures by Henry Moore.

    Reclining Figure by Henry Moore - The Fabulous Museums in Hakone | www.justonecookbook.com
    Reclining Figure by Henry Moore

    The largest sculpture at the museum if you can call it that is the Symphonic Sculpture. Visitors can climb up the circular steps and capture the view of the Hakone Open-Air museum from the top.

    inside Symphonic Sculpture by Nobutaka Skikanai - The Fabulous Museums in Hakone | www.justonecookbook.com
    Symphonic Sculpture by Nobutaka Skikanai
    Miss Black Power by Niki de Saint Phalle - The Fabulous Museums in Hakone | www.justonecookbook.com
    Miss Black Power by Niki de Saint Phalle

    Continue on the path and head towards the pedestrian bridge. Once you’re off the bridge you’ll see one of our favorite sculptures, Intersecting Space Construction by Ryoji Goto. Isn’t it cool?

    Intersecting Space Construction by Ryoji Goto - The Fabulous Museums in Hakone | www.justonecookbook.com
    Intersecting Space Construction by Ryoji Goto

    The Picasso Pavillion was closed during our visit and the collection was moved to the main gallery. There are over 300 pieces of art from Picasso in the museum’s permanent collection (no photos allowed).

    the main gallery at The Hakone Open Air Museum - The Fabulous Museums in Hakone | www.justonecookbook.com

    We had a fun time exploring Hakone Open-Air Museum, plan on spending at least 2-3 hours there.

    Hakone Venetian Glass Museum

    The second museum we highly recommend in the area is the Hakone Venetian Glass Museum. Sometimes, it is also called the Glass Forest.

    The Garden at Hakone Venetian Glass Museum - The Fabulous Museums in Hakone | www.justonecookbook.com
    The Garden at Hakone Venetian Glass Museum

     

    The Garden

    As the name suggests, the museum’s collection focuses on modern and antique Venetian Glass. Besides the Venetian Glass exhibits, It’s situated in a grand garden with a large pond and cute medieval-themed structures.

    As you walk around the museum garden, you notice there are quite a few trees with glass flowers glittering in the sun.

    tree with glass flowers - The Fabulous Museums in Hakone | www.justonecookbook.com

    It’s unnatural but simply breathtaking to see the glass shining on the trees as if it’s frozen with ice.

    tree with glass flowers - The Fabulous Museums in Hakone | www.justonecookbook.com

    After exploring the garden, we crossed the Corridor of Light and enter the Venetian Glass Museum.

    Palazzo Ducale Chandelier by Dale Chihuly in front of the museum - The Fabulous Museums in Hakone | www.justonecookbook.com
    Palazzo Ducale Chandelier by Dale Chihuly in front of the museum
    Corridor of Light - The Fabulous Museums in Hakone | www.justonecookbook.com
    Bridge to the Museum – Corridor of Light

    Venetian Glass Museum

    There are two main galleries and they are divided into traditional Venetian Glass Museum and Venetian Glass Modern Museum. The traditional Venetian Glass on display range from 15th to 18th centuries. The collection includes goblet, vases, and sculptures.

    Guggenheim Cup and Cup in Mosaic Glass - The Fabulous Museums in Hakone | www.justonecookbook.com
    Guggenheim Cup and Cup in Mosaic Glass
    Ship made of glass - The Fabulous Museums in Hakone | www.justonecookbook.com
    Ship made of glass
    Venetian glass work on display - The Fabulous Museums in Hakone | www.justonecookbook.com
    Venetian glass work on display

    Several times a day, performers play instruments or sings inside the Venetian Glass Museum so make sure to check schedule during your visit.

    Musician playing and singing - The Fabulous Museums in Hakone | www.justonecookbook.com
    Musician playing and singing

    Venetian Modern Glass Museum

    The Modern Glass Museum carries a collection dating from late 19th century through today. There are a number of Cups Swaying in the Wind by Giuseppe Barovier, as well as pieces by Livio Seguso and a room featuring Dale Chihuly’s work.

    Cup Swaying in the Wind - The Fabulous Museums in Hakone | www.justonecookbook.com
    Cup Swaying in the Wind
    Sintesi and Forme Convesse by Livio Seguso - The Fabulous Museums in Hakone | www.justonecookbook.com
    Sintesi and Forme Convesse by Livio Seguso
    Machia by Dale Chihuly - The Fabulous Museums in Hakone | www.justonecookbook.com
    Machia by Dale Chihuly

    What fascinated our children the most was the special event featuring Japanese glass insects. There was a glassmaker creating glass insects and it was so interesting to watch him create the art work in front of our eyes.

    artist crafting glass Japanese rhinoceros beetle - The Fabulous Museums in Hakone | www.justonecookbook.com
    Artist crafting glass Japanese rhinoceros beetle
    Garden with Japanese glass insects - The Fabulous Museums in Hakone | www.justonecookbook.com
    Garden with Japanese glass insects
    Glass Japanese rhinoceros beetle for sale - The Fabulous Museums in Hakone | www.justonecookbook.com
    Glass Japanese rhinoceros beetle for sale

    Livio Seguso Garden

    Livio Seguso Garden - The Fabulous Museums in Hakone | www.justonecookbook.com
    Livio Seguso Garden

    In the back of the museum, it borders the Haya River which runs all the way to Hakone Yumoto. There are sitting areas under the trees to stay out of the sun on summer days.

    One of the featured art pieces of the museum is hidden here in the back, Vegetazione 95 by Livio Seguso. The glass structures symbolize trees flying in the wind.

    Vegetazione 95 by Livio Seguso - The Fabulous Museums in Hakone | www.justonecookbook.com
    Vegetazione 95 by Livio Seguso

    Experience Studio

    Lastly, visitors who are interested in glass craft can sign up for making glass accessories or sandblasting for a fee.

    Experience Studio to make glass crafts - The Fabulous Museums in Hakone | www.justonecookbook.com

    Our family really enjoyed the Venetian Glass Museum so do check it out if you have some time during your visit. Plan on spending 2 hours here.

    Other Museums in Hakone

    There are many other museums in Hakone you can visit besides the two we introduced above.

    Little Prince Museum

    The museum is based on the story The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry) and features a French town and garden along with information about the book’s author.

    Little Prince Museum - The Fabulous Museums in Hakone | www.justonecookbook.com

    Pola Museum of Art

    A fine arts museum founded by the beauty brand Pola. The museum features Western and Japanese art from Monet, Chagall, Renior, Takahashi Yuichi, and Koyama Shotaro. An interesting fact about the museum is that it’s mostly underground so it blends into Hakone’s natural beauty.

    Pola Museum of Art - The Fabulous Museums in Hakone | www.justonecookbook.com

    In addition to the above, there are also Lalique Museum Hakone, Okada Museum of Art, Narukawa Art Museum, and a few more.

    We hope you’ve enjoyed our travel through Hakone. We can’t recommend this area enough as it’s a great place to rejuvenate your body and soul. Let us know if you have any feedback in the comments below.

    1. Suzuhiro Kamaboko Museum
    2. Odawara Castle Guide
    3. Hakone Yumoto and Hakone Freepass
    4. Hakone Gora
    5. Riding Hakone Ropeway and Owakudani
    6. What to do around Lake Ashi in Hakone
    7. Museums of Hakone

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