The Hakone Open Air Museum is located in a majestic setting nestled among the green-forested mountains. Japan’s first open air museum features about a 120 works from a who’s who of international modern artists such as Rodin, Picasso, Henry Moore, Alexander Calder and Niki de Saint Phalle. The museum’s ethos is to balance art and nature. The achieve this effect beautifully.
Child-Friendly Exhibits at the Hakone Open Air Museum
My children loved this museum running around and playing amongst the exhibits. In addition, I was able to take them on a short crash course of modern sculpture since there were so many famous artists present in one place. They could see for themselves the difference between the works of Henry Moore versus Calder because they were near each other.
Some of the exhibits are actually meant for human interaction such as the giant maze of flowers called A Garden of Stars.
My son loved soaking his tootsies in the footpath which has oranges and lemons floating among the hot water. For a nominal 10o yen (about 50p), you can take a little towel to dry off your feet afterwards.
The children also loved feeding the giant koi in the pond. When I say giant, I mean giant. These koi have probably been fed way too much by indulgent tourists. I loved the honour system where you put in some coins and you can help yourself to a little dish of fish food.
Their favourite exhibit was the soap bubble castle, a plexiglass and steel work technically called Curved Space Diamond Structure by American sculptor Peter Pearce, that you can climb inside and around.
The Permanent Collection at the Open Air Museum
Many of the works are oversized but feel perfectly set in their open air location.
This museum rotates its display of 26 Henry Moore sculptures which is the largest collection of his works anywhere in the world. Another amazing exhibit is found in the Picasso Pavilion which contains over 300 of the artist’s works. They were donated to the Museum by his daughter.
Our Opinion of the Hakone Open Air Museum
We all loved this museum and were so glad our friend recommended we visit it. It was a delightful afternoon spent amongst beautiful modern art in the mountains. At the end of the day, I had to usher my kids out of the museum because they could have stayed longer. I didn’t want to miss the last train because we had no accommodation in Hakone arranged.
Visiting the Hakone Open Air Museum
The Hakone Open Air Museum is very easy to find. Most of the people getting off at the stop will be going to the museum – there’s not much else in town! It is a short walk from the little train station at Chokoku-no-Mori Station (the penultimate stop on the Hakone Tozan Line) heading towards the town of Gora. It is open year round and has reduced admission for students.
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