Hakone is a hive for the arts. Numerous museums are scattered all over the region taking advantage of its already poetic scenery. From contemporary to classical, each venue has its own unique interpretation of beauty. Check out these 10 Best Museums in Hakone and be inspired by art, history, and nature.
Hakone Open Air Museum
Art that is larger than life and not confined by walled spaces is what Hakone Open Air Museum is all about. Over a hundred contemporary sculpture pieces lie around this museum’s sprawling grounds, where these artistic monuments mirror the grandiose character of its surroundings. It makes for an otherworldly stroll, and since most sculptures are without a fence, there lies an open invitation to view and experience these works as close as possible.
While the outdoor exhibition serves as the museum’s main draw, the indoor showcases are likewise notable. The Picasso Pavilion exhibits more than 300 creations of this Spanish maestro. The rest of the indoor galleries showcase various artists’ works, and finally, for the kids, the Zig Zag World Art Hall is a play area filled with geometric blocks as an introduction to art, space, and architecture.
Address: Ninotaira 1121, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa
Price: ¥1,600 (Adult), ¥1,200 (University & High School Students), ¥800 (Middle & Elementary Students
Venetian Glass Museum
As its name implies, this museum aims to put the focus on the art and craftsmanship behind glass-making. To start, it has over 500 pieces of antique Venetian glass previously owned by medieval European families. Modern creations, which include the work of Dale Chihuly, likewise adorn the museum’s indoor and outdoor spaces. Besides viewing pieces, museum-goers can also try their hand at basic glass-making. Sign up for the sandblasting and fusing workshops conducted regularly.
Address: 940-48 Sengokuhara, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa
Price: ¥1,500 (Adult), ¥1,100 (University & High School Students), ¥600 (Middle & Elementary Students
Hakone Mononofunosato Art Museum
If you fancy anything samurai-related, then include this museum in your itinerary. Hakone Mononofunosato Art Museum is a throwback to the old Japan where items on display date back to the Muromachi and Edo periods. These include lacquerware, tea ceremony instruments, ukiyo-e woodblock prints, Noh masks, and of course, samurai weapons, armor, and helmet. Guests can also try on a samurai outfit too!
Address: 817-580 Sengokuhara, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa Prefecture
Petit Prince Museum
Built in honor of French author Antoine de Saint-Exupery and his most beloved tale The Little Prince, Petit Prince Museum feels like a piece of provincial France transported to the mountainsides of Hakone. There’s a village, a garden, a restaurant, and a museum. The outside space offers a lovely walk along cobblestone roads, while the inside rooms offer a peek into the life and art of the famous author.
Address: 909 Sengokuhara, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa
Price: ¥1,600 (Adult), ¥1,100 (University & High School Students), ¥700 (Middle & Elementary Students, ¥1,100 (Senior)
POLA Museum of Art
POLA Museum of Art is an impressive art haven. It is home to the private collection of Mr. Tsuneshi Suzuki, the late owner of Japan’s Pola Orbis Group and an art enthusiast for more than 40 years. Paintings, sculptures and crafts arts by Japanese and European artists can be found here. Most notable of which are the works of popular 19th and 20th century painters like Monet, Renoir, Picasso, Fujita, and Yasushi. As an art space, the museum is an architectural beauty. Nestled among the 300-year old beech trees of Sengokuhara’s forests, much of its structure is built underground to embody the concept of being in harmony with nature. It is made of concrete and glass so that light naturally floods in despite its basement location. This design also makes for scenic views from different perspectives. Whether you’re standing inside or outside the museum, there’s an interesting view to behold.
Address: 1285 Kozukayama, Sengokuhara, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa
Price: ¥1,800 (Adult), ¥1,300 (University & High School Students), ¥700 (Middle & Elementary Students, ¥1,600 (Senior)
Hakone Museum of Art
Hakone Museum of Art boasts of ancient Japanese earthenware and ceramics from the prehistoric times through the Edo Period. Its surrounding grounds is a landscape beauty with its moss gardens and the Sekirakuen Garden. The latter is a Japanese garden situated on the museum’s sloping terrain. It features a mountain stream, manicured plants, large decorative stones, and stunning views of the nearby mountains and valleys. Though beautiful all year round, this garden in Gora, Hakone is especially gorgeous for its autumn foliage. It is open to the public all days of November. On other months, viewing is limited to weekends and national holidays.
Address: 1300 Gora-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa
Price: ¥900 (Adult), ¥400 (High School Students), Free (Middle & Elementary Students, ¥700 (Senior)
Website: http://www.moaart.or.jp/hakone/ (Japanese only)
This museum is dedicated to the work of Rene Lalique (1860-945), a renowned French craftsman of glass objects and jewelry. More than 1,500 of his works comprise the museum’s collection, which are exhibited in rotation throughout the year. Aside from Lalique pieces, visitors can enjoy spending their time shopping at the souvenir shop or relaxing at either one of the museum’s two cafés. For a unique experience, go for Le Train – a café housed in an actual train wagon. Marvel at Lalique’s glass panels as you sip on tea and have a bite of cake.
Address: 186-1 Sengokuhara, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa
Price: ¥1,500 (Adult), ¥1,300 (University & High School Students), ¥800 (Middle & Elementary Students, ¥1,300 (Senior)
Hakone Museum of Photography
Hakone Museum of Photography is a private gallery owned by Katsura Endo, a Hakone-based photographer whose body of work includes a collection of Mt. Fuji photographs throughout the seasons. This is this museum’s permanent exhibition, while various artists’ works including that of Endo’s grandfather Ohsui Yamada are featured as special exhibitions. There is also a Museum Shop and Café Plaisir de l’eouf located adjacent to the main building.
Address: 1300-432 Gora, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa
Price: ¥500 (Adult), ¥300 (Under 15 years old), Free (Under 6 years old)
Honma Yosegi Museum
Originated in Hakone during the Edo period, Yosegi is a traditional craft that makes use of different wood pieces to create functional items such as boxes and plates. The resulting style is an intricate mesh of patterns, mosaic-like formed as a result of combining different elements. The Honma Yosegi Museum is both an exhibition space and a workshop dedicated to this unique art. It rotates about 500 antique pieces from Edo and Showa periods, as well as the works of famed Yosegi craftsman Honma Noboru. Lessons are available upon reservation with a requirement of at least two learners per class.
Address: 84 Yumoto, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa
Price: ¥500 (Adult), ¥300 (Elementary Students)
Website: http://www.yoseki-honma.com/bijutu.htm (Japanese Only)
Okada Museum of Art
Owned by Okada Kazuo, one of Japan’s billionaire businessmen, the Okada Museum of Art is his vast personal collection of East Asian pottery, sculptures, and paintings. Go through thousands of these artworks, a good number of which are rare antiques dating several centuries back. Selected displays are equipped with commentary guides shown on LCD touch panel devices for a better learning experience. Around the museum, several attractions are also in place. Visitors can enjoy a peaceful time sipping refreshments at the Kaikatei – a Showa period teahouse located at the entrance of the museum garden. Right outside the main building, there’s also a footbath facility complimentary for museum visitors. It uses 100% natural hot spring water that constantly flows from the source.
Address: 493-1 Kowakudani, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa
Price: ¥2,800 (Adult), ¥1,800 (High School & Elementary Students)
All price information in this article is as of January 2017.
Thumbnail image is from Flickr.