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.

Visiting the Hakone Open Air Museum in Japan

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.

Hakone Open Air Museum

Fried egg benches

Some of the exhibits are actually meant for human interaction such as the giant maze of flowers called A Garden of Stars.

Hakone Air Museum

The Garden of Stars Maze

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.

Hakone Open Air Museum

Every museum should have a place to refresh tired feet.

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.

Hakone Open Air Museum

Some greedy fat koi

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.

Hakone Open Air Museum

Inside the Soap Bubble Castle AKA Curved Space Diamond Structure

Hakone Air Museum

Climbing soap bubbles into the sky

The Permanent Collection at the Open Air Museum

Many of the works are oversized but feel perfectly set in their open air location.

Hakone Open Air Museum

I came in like a wrecking ball AKA a Moment of Movement by Aiko Miwaki

Hakone Open Air Museum

Le Pieureuse by Francois-Xavier and Claude Lalanne

Hakone Open Air Museum

I’ve fallen and can’t get up. AKA Close by Anthony Gormley

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.

Hakone Open Air Museum

The Picasso Pavillion

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 with kids

Visiting the Hakone Open Air museum with kids

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.

Check the TripAdvisor reviews for the Hakone Open-Air Museum


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