When it comes to museums, sometimes breaking out of the four walls is the best option. For those travellers wishing to break free from the traditional museum experience of endless stuffy air-conditioned halls, the Hakone Open Air Museum might be the perfect spot. It has all the features you would expect in a world class museum- iconic art, food options, family friendly, helpful guided tours and of course the impressive gift shop (where I can never leave empty handed).
The museum is located in the hot spring retreat town of Hakone. A pleasant 85 minute bullet train (shinkansen) ride from central Tokyo. It is situated on the hill top giving it a stunning views out over the local countryside. It’s a wonderful concept to see art lying on the green grass, encircled with nothing but mountain views and blue sky.
It’s home to over 100 sculptural masterpieces, including one of the largest collections worldwide of English sculpture Henry Moore. The museums key focus is sculpture and installation sculpture. Following path ways (all of your own choosing) you walk through the manicured gardens examining sculptures including Miss Black Power by Niki De Saint Phalle or Carl Milles’ People and Pegasus.
The Pavilion Picasso is another key highlight of the Hakone Air Museum. This was the main reason for my visit, and turned out to be my key highlight! This indoor pavilion exclusively houses some of Picasso’s drawings, sketches and pottery . The current exhibition is displayed with works being grouped according to theme, for example fear of death, faces or animals. Also displayed here are photographs depicting the artists life, which give context to some of the works.
One of favourite part of this museum is the hot springs foot baths at the bottom of the hill. It’s approximately half way through the most popular walking route, and is located next to the cafe. You can sit here and relax your sore feet. It’s a welcomed relief!!
The museum would be wonderful for families as there any many installations specifically for children. Many of the works are interactive and encourage children to become involved with the art. Also having lots of outdoor open space means they can run around whilst parents look at the art.
Tickets for adults are Y1600 and there is discounted prices for youths. However they often have discount coupons on their website to reduce the ticket price.
I highly recommend this museum for those wanting to venture out to the countryside. It’s a fantastic location filled with excellent art!