Four Excellent Museums in Hakone

by Luke - TripleLights travel specialist

An area well known for hot spring resorts, beautiful nature, and a stunning view of Mount Fuji, Hakone already has plenty to offer. Hidden away amonst the picaresque scenery, are four rather interesting museums, making a nice distraction from a long day of sightseeing:

Hakone Open-Air Museum

Four Excellent Museums in Hakone

(image by upload.wikimedia.org)

At the Hakone Open-Air Museum, an outdoor art museum that boasts a vast site covering approximately 70,000 square meters, you can enjoy sculptures from Henry Moore, Marta Pan and others.

The park, which is Japan’s first outdoor art museum, was opened in 1969 with the goal of making sculpture art more popular. Approximately 120 sculptural masterpieces are on permanent display across the huge sculpture park. These works of art can be enjoyed while viewing the mountains of Hakone. Calmly walking among nature while enjoying famous sculptures up-close is a real thrill that is unique to the outdoor art museum. There are also play sculptures that children can touch and have fun with, and other features that the whole family can enjoy, such as the maze. 

Admission: Adult: ¥ 1,600 / Child: ¥ 800

Guidebook from Planetyze about Hakone Open-Air Museum
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Hakone Open-Air Museum
Tours of Hakone Open-Air Museum

Hakone Museum of Art

Four Excellent Museums in Hakone

(image by flickr.com)

Hakone’s oldest art museum. The autumn leaves of the garden are so beautiful that they are used in posters for Hakone. Noted exhibits include earthenware up to the Edo Era.

The museum is a building with Chinese-style blue tiles and large windows that let in natural light. Exhibits include earthenware from the Jomon Era to Edo Era pottery. Aside from these, another place to see is the Shinsenkyo Garden that has been designated as a National Place of Scenic Beauty. This garden surrounded by nature is somewhat different from Hakone’s other places of note. The moss garden tightly planted with approximately 130 kinds of moss is said to be Japan’s largest in terms of variety. Depending on the season, there are various changes such as the vivid green of the spring and the deep greenery during the rainy season. But especially in November, the 200 maple trees provide a splendid contrast. It is famed as a place for the changing colors. Taking a stroll will take 1 to 2 hours. Since the peak season of November is extremely crowded, the weekdays and especially the mornings are best for taking photos since the leaves roll up in the afternoon. However, using a tripod is not allowed. Even on rainy days, the scenery changes so visitors rarely cancel. There is a path lined with Japanese clover from the main building to the annex. During the peak season of September, the highlight is the clover on both sides of the path threatening to cover everything. On either side of the stairway heading to the main building from the path, there is a spreading bamboo garden that is in harmony with the building’s exterior. On weekends and holidays as well as in August and November, there is the Ishiraku-en rock garden that is especially open to the public that has a sense of spaciousness. It is a garden that centers on the rock arrangement and the streams, and the scenery that brings the slopes to life makes the garden a space like no other.

Admission: ¥ 900

Guidebook from Planetyze about Hakone Museum of Art
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Hakone Museum of Art
Tours of Hakone Museum of Art

Hakone Glass Museum

Four Excellent Museums in Hakone

(image by flickr.com)

An out-of-the-ordinary world appearing in the middle of the grand nature of Hakone. Buildings that have re-created Venice have an atmosphere that feels like being in a European castle of the Middle Ages.

Within the vast grounds, there are the Venetian Glass Museum and the Venetian Modern Glass Museum. At the Venetian Glass Museum, there is a permanent display of approximately 100 examples of glass art works that boast a thousand years of history of Venice, Italy. The Venetian glass that enthused European nobility from the 15th to 18th centuries is the height of beauty. The Venetian Modern Glass Museum is located in the courtyard. Venetian glass staged a comeback in the late 19th century, and imbued with new life, original and modern Venetian glass is displayed.   But it’s not all about the interior of the museum. Inside the European-style garden, there is a crystal glass arch, called the Corridor of Light, with a height of 9m and a total length of about 10m that resembles a bridge with its own special presence. Roughly 160,000 beads of crystal glass are moved by the wind which glitter and reflect the light. A brilliance of 7 colors is released from the sunlight and wind direction especially in autumn.

This is a museum with an elegant impression, but the secret of not getting tired of it even after many visits is its interactivity. You can create glass at the sandblasting studio, carving patterns through blowing sand and making keyholders and accessories with the techniques of melting and fusing glass together. At the café-restaurant where you can taste the famous fruit tea, there are live canzone performances 6 times a day. This is a museum which you can enjoy with all five senses.    

Admission: Adult: ¥ 1,500 / Child: ¥ 600

Guidebook from Planetyze about Hakone Glass Museum
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Hakone Glass Museum
Tours of Hakone Glass Museum

Pola Museum of Art

Four Excellent Museums in Hakone

(image by flickr.com)

An enormous collection from the owner of cosmetics company Pola. From the exhibits to the exterior, you can feel the scale for the professional beauty with a look. The museum contains a wide collection from paintings to pottery and glasswork.

The Pola Museum of Art is built within Hakone National Park. It boasts Japan’s largest collection of Impressionist art such as Monet, Renoir and Picasso. There is also a wide collection from Western and Japanese paintings to East Asian collections of ceramic ware and glasswork. The part of the museum that is above ground is only 8m high. It was possible to conform to the strict standards of construction on the park grounds, but to preserve the environment and view, the museum is underground. The all-glass ceiling lets in natural light so that it goes all the way to the 3rd floor underground. The balance of light and shadow shifting with the time and amount of  sunlight is superb. Within this quiet beauty, you can take your time appreciating the art. The building itself can be said to be a piece of art as well. Dining establishments are available which can be used without having to enter the museum. You can spend an elegant time on the terrace during sunny days in a quiet environment. The restaurants are on the 1st floor and the first basement within the museum. You can access the 1st floor without having to enter the museum. More than 200 kinds of tasteful original goods such as postcards and mugs are available which are perfect as souvenirs. Limited-edition goods for special exhibitions, traditional art works and other handicrafts of Hakone are also managed. 

Admission: Adult: ¥ 1,800 / Child: ¥ 700

Guidebook from Planetyze about Hakone Pola Museum of Art
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Hakone Pola Museum of Art
- Tours of Hakone Pola Museum of Art

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Recent Tour Reviews in Hakone

“ Hakone highlights ”

Excellent
6 days ago Traveler: Tonya -   Tour Guide: Tomoko

Tomoko met us in our Tokyo hotel & travelled to Hakone area with us. She made the transfers easy. We had a wonderful day with Tomoko providing lots of local knowledge. She doubled checked any information I had given her about our hotel & baggage transfer without prompting. I would highly recommend Tomoko particularly if a group - much better than organised tours. Thank you again Tomoko
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1 week ago Traveler: Yousef -   Tour Guide: Nobuko

I really enjoyed my day in Kamakura with Nobuko
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“ Amazing experience! ”

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1 week ago Traveler: Abbey -   Tour Guide: Masaharu

Fantastic day with Masaharu. He was extremely friendly and knowledgeable about Hakone and everything we were seeing. We had such a great day and learned a lot about the area and Japanese culture. He was also very helpful in accommodating dietary requests.
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“ Up close and personal Hakone ”

Excellent
2 weeks ago Traveler: Lori -   Tour Guide: Yuki

Yukie was an awesome guide taking us to Hakone from our Hotel in Tokyo. He was smart and very personal. I would highly recommend Yuki!
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“ Excellent guide with and endless positive attitude ready to help you in any need ”

Excellent
3 weeks ago Traveler: Jorge -   Tour Guide: Nobuko

Nobuko guided us for a day tour in Tokyo and another one in the Hakone area. Excellent itinerary suggestion, very knowledgeable of the different places and in general of Japan history and culture. Very flexible and resourceful if changes need to be made. Highly recommended
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“ Amazing Guide ”

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4 weeks ago Traveler: Ivy -   Tour Guide: Yumiko

Yumiko was a delight to have as our guide and is incredibly knowledgeable! Her English is great and her understanding of what we wanted out of trip was appreciated.
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“ Kirei trip to Hakone ”

Very Good
1 month ago Traveler: Vasanthi -   Tour Guide: HIROSHI

Hi Horoshi SAN.... you made our day and did more then a guide 👏👏. Thank you so much for the time and your guidance and explanation on our tour and not forgetting the insight you gave us on managing the train, food, tour in Tokyo for the next 4 days. We had a marvellous time and we have safely reach Kyoto as per your guidance from Odawara. I want to welcome your wife and you to our country pl...
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“ Wonderful day bad ending ”

Very Good
1 month ago Traveler: Susan -   Tour Guide: Hiroshi

Hiroshi is a very nice man and very good at what he does. We had a lovely day in the Hakone area , on one of the most beautiful days. Hiroshi was very patient and fair , when the forecast was bad, he rescheduled our tour for a better day. We really appreciated that. We understood that we would pay for his travel In Hakone, but did not expect any other surprise expenses. In fact I emailed Hirosh...
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“ A Well Prepared Tour Guide ”

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1 month ago Traveler: Patsy -   Tour Guide: Junichi

We were so glad to have Junichi as our tour guide. He took us to Mount Fuji and kept his personal notes on train and boat schedules. He made sure all of our family members were together, periodically turning back to look that all of us are behind him as he led us through train stations to get to our destination. The coolest part of the entire tour was Mount Fuji and her majesty and splendor as ...
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