Hakone Open Air Museum Review

Hakone Open Air Museum Review

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Hakone Open Air Museum was a highlight while staying at the Hyatt Regency Hakone with Hyatt Prive benefits. The museum, which spans 17 acres, is normally open year round from 9am-5pm daily, although at time of writing, the museum is temporarily closed due to coronavirus precautions.

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Hakone Open Air Museum Location and Tickets

The museum is located at 1121 Ninotaira, Hakone-machi, about a 6 minute drive from the Hyatt Regency Hakone. Guests at the resort can arrange with the Concierge team for a complimentary shuttle to the museum, and can call from the museum to request a pick-up after their visit.

Tickets may only be purchased in Japan. At the museum itself, tickets are JPY 1600 per adult, JPY 1200 per university or high school student, and JPY 800 per junior high or elementary school student.

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Hakone Open Air Museum Highlights for Families

The museum is quite extensive if you plan to see and visit everything. Picasso fans will want to look at the indoor Picasso collection, with 300 of his works, many of them his ceramics, although paintings, sculptures, and tapestries are also represented.

In the main plaza after entering is one of the most well known works by sculptor Emile Antoine Bourdelle, Hercules the Archer:

Hercules the Archer, Hakone Open Air Museum
Hercules the Archer, Hakone Open Air Museum

Some of Bourdelle's other works, La Grande Statue de la Liberte and La Grande Statue de l'Eloquence, are nearby:

La Grande Statue de la Liberte and La Grande Statue de l'Eloquence
La Grande Statue de la Liberte and La Grande Statue de l'Eloquence

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If you look over to the left, you'll see one of the more arresting outdoor sculptures of a woman's face, framed by leafy greenery for hair, a tear rolling across her cheek: La Pleureuse (the Mourner):

La Pleureuse, Hakone Open Air Museum
La Pleureuse, Hakone Open Air Museum

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Bearing to the right and walking down an incline are some other sculptures, including this hand reaching up from the earth, from the cult horror/comedy “Shaun of the Dead:”

"Shaun of the Dead" Hand, Hakone Open Air Museum
“Shaun of the Dead” Hand, Hakone Open Air Museum

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Don't miss the Woods of Net sculpture, especially if you have kids ages 12 or younger. Just next to it is a Joan Miro work:

Personnage Sculpture by Joan Miro, Hakone Open Air Museum
Personnage Sculpture by Joan Miro

The handsome wooden frame was constructed without any nails or metal, with wooden joints of the type used in ancient Japanese temples.

Hats off to the visionary artist Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam whose whimsical and vibrant crocheted nets held irresistible appeal for our son and his friends, not to mention the scores of other kids there. The kids spent at least a full hour there, and were reluctant to leave to see anything else–parents, you've been warned!

Woods of Net by Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam, Hakone Open Air Museum
Woods of Net by Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam
Fun at Woods of Net, Hakone Open Air Museum

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While the Picasso Museum is the next major art exhibit on the path, we didn't spend much time there (also, photos aren't permitted) and instead walked further to the Symphonic Sculpture, which is a tower.

Symphonic Sculpture, Hakone Open Air Museum
Symphonic Sculpture, Hakone Open Air Museum
Spiral Staircase, Symphonic Sculpture, Hakone Open Air Museum
Yellow Footprints up the Spiral Staircase, Symphonic Sculpture
Symphonic Sculpture

Here's our Hakone Open Air Museum YouTube Video:

The Verdict

While we by no means saw all of the museum (you'd need a good 3 hours or so to do this in an unhurried way) and we were there on a rather grey day, we highly enjoyed our visit. In fact, it was probably the place our son enjoyed most on our relatively brief visit to Japan, thanks to the highly interactive Woods of Net sculpture that is specifically meant for kids to play on. If you want to see pure unadulterated joy in a kid's face–take him or her there.

Other highlights for us included the stained glass of the Symphonic Sculpture, La Pleureuse, and the Hot Springs Foot Bath.

If you've visited the Hakone Open Art Museum, which were your favorite sculptures?

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