Monday 21 November 2011

Hakone Open Air Museum

We went away to Hakone for the weekend and had a great time. We left first thing Friday morning and arrived at the Open Air Museum at lunch time. Daddy-ebi was upset to hear that the British pub had closed down (he likes his real ale) so we ended up having a viking (buffet, not a large, hairy Nordic bloke). Once we were fed and watered it was time to explore......

Most of the museum is outdoors with all kinds of sculptures...

And it is a great place for kids, some of the sculptures you are not allowed to touch and others are made for climbing on/in, like this big hexagonal piece...

I took some lovely shots but this is my favourite, Ebi-kun inside the structure sliding down, makes me laugh every time I look at it.

This was ebi-kun's favourite outdoor sculpture - man and Pegasus.

We made our way to the forest of nets, I so wanted to get in there with him but I don't think I will pass as being 12 or under! The nets looked like they were knitted and they were layered, great fun.

Ebi-kun would have stayed in there all day if we had let him!

Then it was off to see Picasso, Japanese museums have this thing about focusing on one artist which means you can get to see several pieces of work by one artists instead of the occasional one or two pieces, this museum has over 300 Picasso pieces and last year we went to the Salvador Dali museum. You are not allowed to take photos inside so here is one of outside! I will do a separate post about this but I made Ebi-kun a Picasso booklet, he was very excited to do the treasure hunt I had put in it.

After Picasso we went to another building which houses Henry Moore pieces and then we made our way to the glass tower, which is amazing. It is made of panels of stained glass, 20 panels high and 25 (?) round and there is a great view of the museum grounds from the top.

I am sure there must be a daft joke to go with this shot!

We then went to another exhibit hall where there was installation art done by Motoi Yamamoto, guess what he uses to make these designs?


And this is a whole room covered in lines of salt, there is a video here showing him working on this and other pieces at the museum.
We dropped lucky because there were a professional crew taking photos so they had removed the barriers, the staff were having heart failure every time Ebi-kun went anywhere near it, he is pretty careful as far as kids go, I wouldn't like to be in their with his two English cousins though!

When we came out there was a chap waiting for someone, I was looking at one of the leaflets and daddy-ebi is point to the photo on the leaflet and trying to discretely point out that the chap was actually Yamamoto-san himself. So, we did what anyone would do and sent Ebi-kun over to talk to him lol. One of the other pieces of work was a skyscraper made of salt and Ebi-kun asked him how he got the salt to stick together, he was kind enough to explain and then posed for a picture.

After all that excitement it was almost closing time but we had just enough time to pop into the final place for a play....

A carefully designed play area and there was only one other kid in there, good way to finish off the day. This is a great museum and if you happen to be up in Hakone you should definitely go, I imagine in the rain it wouldn't be much fun though!

We were pretty tired after all that so we went and checked into the hotel and decided to pop back into town for dinner but when we got there everything had closed up for the night except for a tonkatsu (pork tenderloin) shop, so we ended up eating there, the meal was absolutely fantastic - the bill at the end, not so much! So we picked up so beers and headed back to the hotel for an onsen (hot spring) bath and an early night...


  1. We love that place. We go there every time we go to Japan and will go again in January. We've done it in the rain (not a downpour but steady drizzle) and it wasn't too bad. The bubble castle was closed because it was too slippery, which was a shame. I got my kids to take the camera inside the forest of nets because I wanted to see what it was like. It was very, very cool. Looks like you had beautiful weather for your visit. Your photos are fantastic.

  2. Thank you! I wish I had thought of letting Ebi-kun take the camera in the forest of nets with him!

  3. what great pictures! :) ebi-kun looked like he had a fabulous time!!

  4. Next time. Also, did you notice all the little pictures in the stained-glass tower? I find new ones every time we visit. There's a car, people riding horses, someone riding a bird, owls. I think (but wouldn't swear on it) that I saw Santa once.
    (By the way, do you recognise my avatar?)

  5. we spent quite a while looking at the glass tower and we saw santa too!

    your avatar? no idea!

  6. It's a sculpture (I guess you'd call it) comprising a series of diamond shapes in rainbow colours that go down a slope, not far from the bouncy fried egg. My daughter sat in one of the diamonds down the bottom while I stood at the top to take the photo, trying to be all artsy-fartsy.

  7. they must have moved it because we didn't see it, they did say that some of it was under construction and some of the items were not of show, maybe that was one of them.

  8. That looks awesome!! There is an open air museum here called the Kirishima Open Air Museum and it's one of my favourite places in the world.

  9. Looks like you had very good time. I just wish we had similar place to visit.


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