Mount Fuji and Lake Ashi are not the only breathtaking must-sees outside of Tokyo. Nt too far from it, and equally exciting, is the Hakone Open-Air Museum, founded in 1969 and directed by a world-famous Japanese designer Hanae Mori. A wide selection of sculptural treasures, varying from contemporary to modern styles, are effortlessly placed in 70 000 sqm of garden space and perfectly groomed greens.
The picturesque Hakone Mountains create an ideal setting and background for more than 120 masterpieces by famous Western, as well as, Japanese artists including Alexander Calder, Anthony Gormley, Niki de Saint Phalle and Barbara Hepworth among others. Each season bringing its own personal and natural charm, in which art lovers, explorers and even children can enjoy the visit to the museum.
While strolling through this lovely space created in harmony with art and nature, you literally get to breathe in and interact with the pieces exposed, such as the magnetizing golden sphere, by Italian sculptor Arnaldo Pomodoro. Not to forget the mesmerizing works by Joan Miro, Rodin and Henry Moore. The Hakone Open-Air Museum boasts one of the largest collections of works by the renowned English sculptor, presenting 26 works from one of Moore’s most significant periods to its visitors.
The Hakone museum presents a beautiful opportunity to introduce children to modern art in a playful manner. Being able to run around and interact with the pieces exhibited, touching and climbing on them they get to connect first hand with the artwork and become part of it, for example in the permanent pavilion by Tezuka Architects. Evoking childhood memories (well not just childhood memories), the Jengalike elements of the wooden architectural nest evoke playfulness in young and old.
It also hosts an installation by net artist Toshiko Horiuchi Macadam, who created a dreamy playground with her giant colorful hand knitted jungle gym.
In 1984, a precious element was added to the Hakone Open Air museum - the Picasso Pavilion. The indoor gallery hosts more than 300 photographs, paintings ceramic works and sculptures, of course. Donated by Picasso’s daughter these pieces create a personal insight to the legendary artist.
All in all, we can’t think of a better experience than enjoying the natural beauty of the Hakone Mountains, while breathing in some fresh air and contemplating astonishing art at the same time.