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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04 May 2015

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Recent Tour Reviews in Hakone

“ Tokyo and hakone ”

Excellent
16 hours ago Traveler: Julie -   Tour Guide: Tomoko

What a great way to begin our time in japan! Tomoko was a delight to spend our day with! She was always on time, organized, friendly and easy to understand. She made us feel like family! Highly recommend her tour! Thank you again for your time!
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“ Worth every bit! ”

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1 week ago Traveler: Khoalinh -   Tour Guide: Kyoko

Kyoko took my family of 8 for a day in hakone and it was worth every yen/penny. She took the stress of public transportation away from us for the day and accommodated my family of 2 sets of elderly parents with one using cane/wheelchair and 2 toddlers. Personable and just lovely of a person. Would love to have Kyoko take us out on more adventures the next time we come back. Thank you so much Kyoko...
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2 weeks ago Traveler: Amelia -   Tour Guide: Maru

This was our first trip to Japan and we wanted a day trip to Hakone to cover all the sightseeing spots. Maru organised a good plan for us but unfortunately a typhoon hit the city the night before and the train, ropeway and pirate cruise ships were cancelled. She quickly came up with a plan to take us to other places and was cheerful, helpful and and so accommodating to all our requests and patient...
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“ Very effective guide ”

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1 month ago Traveler: Pat -   Tour Guide: Yuki

Yuki is knowledgeable and informative. Given a rainy day, he was very flexible in changing our plans and making alternate arrangements to meet our needs. He gave us a great day in Hakone, even if we couldn't see Mt. Fuji... including arranging for a private onsen. He even went out of his way to accompany us to a hard-to-find restaurant.
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“ Top of the line ”

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1 month ago Traveler: Kimberly -   Tour Guide: Makiko

Our day with Makiko was excellent. She listened to what our passions were in the planning stages. She was flexible with options on the day of...to keep us on the time schedule we needed. She is charming, intuitive and knowledgeable in many topics including arts, culture, history and multiple areas of the country. It was a friendly relaxed day. I cannot rate her high enough. EXCELLENT!!!
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2 months ago Traveler: Thirumalai -   Tour Guide: Yuji

We had 1 full day in Hakone and Yuji planned a great day trip. He shared lot of historical information which made the places more interesting. He is a great guy to have conversation on different topics. When he found out we had more time than originally planned, he was flexible and took us to few more places.
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2 months ago Traveler: Marjorie -   Tour Guide: Yuki

Thank you Yuki for such a good fun day out thru Hakone with which my family and kids really enjoyed. Well organized and activity timings were well managed with the sunny and cloudy weather we had. Yuki was very accommodating and handled well our group specially my super energetic 5 yr old kid. Thanks and all our best wishes!
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2 months ago Traveler: SUPRABHAT -   Tour Guide: KASHIMA

1 day at Hakone 1 day at Kamakura 1 day at Tokyo came to Japan with business partners and families. had great time with Mr.Kashima. thank you very much for the guide and all kinds of cordinations. He took great care of us with ages varies from 20's to 80's....
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2 months ago Traveler: Anand -   Tour Guide: Akira.S

Very helpful and flexible.
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