- 【The Moto-Hakone area】
- →Enjoy Japanese-style paintings with a wonderful view of Mount Fuji at Narukawa Art Museum
- →Sekisho Karakuri Musem, where you can learn about the traditional crafting method of Yosegi Zaiku
- 【The Sengokuhara area】
- →Lalique Museum Hakone fascinates you with subtle art of glass
- 【The Kowakudani / Ashinoyu area】
- →Unravel the history from a "small world" at Dollhouse Museum Hakone
- →Enjoy Eastern art while relaxing in a foot bath at the Okada Museum of Art
- 【The Gora area】
- →Hakone Museum of Photography, where you can enjoy various views of Mount Fuji
The Hakone area in Kanagawa Prefecture has various attractive aspects including hot springs, cuisines and nature. Did you know that Hakone, one of the most popular tourist spots in Japan, has a must-see "world of art"? The Hakone area, surrounded by beautiful and majestic nature, is a perfect place to relax and admire art works.
Among numerous art museums in Hakone, we will introduce six great ones that are only known by those who know. Furthermore, we have mapped them along with staple museums by area. We recommend you to visit these places when traveling to Hakone.
【The Moto-Hakone area】
The Moto-Hakone area represents tourism in Hakone. This is a uniting area of spots representing Hakone, including “Hakone Sekisho”, which was placed by the shogunate in the Edo period, Lake Ashi, and Hakone Shrine. Here you can find art museums where you can learn about the history of Hakone and enjoy superb views.
Enjoy Japanese-style paintings with a wonderful view of Mount Fuji at Narukawa Art Museum
Narukawa Art Museum standing across the street from Lake Ashi
■ Art museum dedicated to Japanese-style paintings
Narukawa Art Museum is located in the Moto-Hakone area.
The museum stands at a mountaintop, a 3-minute walk away from Moto Hakone Port (the Lake Ashi sightseeing cruise) and the bus stop Motohakone-ko-mae.
Opened in 1988, the museum is one of the few in Japan that are dedicated to Japanese-style paintings. It currently has over 4000 Japanese-style paintings. You can always see a total of more than 200 Japanese-style paintings in the permanent and temporary exhibitions.
The exhibition room of Narukawa Art Museum
The museum's exhibition is replaced four times a year according to the season. The collection includes works by Kyujin Yamamoto, who played an important part in the reform movement of modern Japanese-style painting and received the Order of culture, as well as works by many artists such as Yoshihiko Yoshida and Fumiko Hori.
The biggest feature of Japanese-style paintings lies in the painting materials.
For Western paintings, it is basic to use tubes of paint and mix colors on a palette, but for Japanese-style paintings, "rock paint" made from crushed natural rock/stone is used. It is said that there are over several hundred colors of rock paint, which is made utilizing shades that subtly vary from rock to rock.
Since powder paint is not mixable, it is applied as it is without being mixed to create colors of choice.
rock paint pigment
In addition, the production process of Japanese-style paintings includes time-consuming steps such as mixing liquefied powder with nikawa, a thickener extracted from an animal, in order to obtain viscosity.
■ What is the attraction of Japanese-style paintings?
Painted by elaborately layering colors and with detailed touches, all Japanese-style paintings show the subtlety of the Japanese. Ms. Hatano, who works at the museum, says,"The appeal of Japanese-style paintings lies in the luster produced by their touches and rock paint."
Also, as the word “Kacho-fugetsu” (whose Japanese characters mean flower, bird, wind and the moon) means the beauty of nature , Japanese-style paintings use such subjects as Japanese scenery that varies from season to season, animals and humans. Many of these subjects are simple enough for those who aren't familiar with Japanese-style paintings to genuinely enjoy their beauty.
In the museum, visitors can see the works of art closeup so that they can appreciate the appeal of Japanese-style paintings. You can take your time seeing the luster of rock paint and the touches up close.
■ Admire the wonderful view of Lake Ashi and Mount Fuji from the observation room
Lake Ashi and Mount Fuji seen from the observation room
Another appeal of Narukawa Art Museum is its location. From the observation room in the museum, you can enjoy the superb view of Mt. Fuji behind Lake Ashi and the Hakone Mountains. Fresh greenery for spring and summer, leaf coloration for autumn, and snow view for winter, the charming scenery that changes its expression by season is a beautiful view perfect to admire along with Japanese-style paintings.
〒250-0522 570 Hakone-machi, Motohakone
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Open every day
Adult: 1,300 yen High school and college students: 900 yen Junior high school and elementary shchool students: 600 yen *Hakone Free Pass discounts can apply
Sekisho Karakuri Musem, where you can learn about the traditional crafting method of Yosegi Zaiku
Sekisho Karakuri Museum
■ Works of Yosegi Zaiku (a type of traditional Japanese marquetry that represents Hakone) arranged on exhibition
Traditional crafts are essential parts of sightseeing in many places in Japan. Japan takes pride in its culture of handwork by craftspeople who have preserved and inherited traditional techniques that have been passed down through generations in these places.
The Hakone/Odawara area has traditional crafts that can't be missed, which are works of Hakone Yosegi Zaiku.
Japanese puzzle box made by Yosegi Zaiku
Works of Hakone Yosegi Zaiku have always been famous as staple souvenirs of Hakone. In this crafting method, various types of wood are combined to create a beautiful pattern from which you can feel the warmth of wood. The Himitsu Bako (Japanese Puzzle Box), which is made by handwork and the technique of Kumiki (joining wood together), is said to be popular not only in Japan but also among tourists from abroad.
A signboard at Hakone Karakuri Museum
You can enjoy Yosegi Zaiku and Karakuri (gimmicks) at the same time at Hakone Karakuri Museum located in the remnants of Hakone Sekisho.
In the museum, numerous works of Yosegi Zaiku made by craftspeople are displayed. This museum is a shop where you can get key holders and jewels that would make perfect small souvenirs, and trays and trash cans to which the Yosegi Zaiku technique is applied.
■ Experience playful karakuri
In the center of the building, there is a door with a signboard saying "Sekisho Karakuri Museum."
As you may have guessed, this is a gimmick door. Even if you turn the doorknob, the door won't open. The trick is that it is not the doorknob side but the other side with a hinge that opens.
Inlaid picture made with Yosegi Zaiku
On the other side of this door, you can find exhibitions of a lot of works with tricks that are not conventional and of a bit of wonder. Go find out yourself what kind of tricks there are! How about enjoying the world of wonder while revealing the tricks?
■ You can also experience making a puzzle box
Puzzle box making
At the museum, you can also experience making a puzzle box (also called Karakuri box) with Yosegi Zaiku.
Puzzle boxes are a kind of treasure boxes with tricks where you need to move certain parts of the box in certain directions to open them. It is said that these boxes are made with the technique of kumiki (joining wood together), whose origin can be traced back to the ancient Japan.
Here you can experience making a puzzle box, starting from the box-assembling step. You make a puzzle box while looking carefully at a sample and thinking about how to assemble it so that tricks are applied.
You can not only touch works of Yosegi Zaiku but also learn about the tricks of puzzle boxes through direct experience.
This experience can be registered beforehand online. Why not take action right now to make a own puzzle box of your own!
〒250-0521 16 Hakone-machi, Hakone
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Open every day
<The Moto Hakone/ Hakone area> Other museums to visit
【The Sengokuhara area】
Sengokuhara is located in the northeastern part of the Hakone area. Because of its abundant nature, this area has art museums with extensive properties all over. Admire artworks surrounded by nature should invite you to a special space that secludes you from everyday life.
Lalique Museum Hakone fascinates you with subtle art of glass
The entrance to Lalique Museum Hakone
■ The museum exhibits beautiful works of glass by Rene Lalique
Standing in the nature-abundant Sengokuhara area, Lalique Museum Hakone has works by Rene Lalique on exhibition. Rene Lalique was a successful French jewelry and glass craftsman in the 19th and 20th centuries.
<img src="https://s3-ap-northeast-1.amazonaws.com/thegate/2019/06/14/11/29/19/hakone-lalique-museum-apple-tree.jpg" alt="Glass lighting "Japanese apple tree" />
Bedside lamp "Japanese apple tree" (1920)
René Lalique created jewelry from his 20s to 40s, and in his 50s and later, he crafted numerous glass works. For his creative and unique works, he is known to be an important artist to represent the ages of Art nouveau and Art Déco.
Nature surrounding Lalique Museum Hakone
Natural scenery was familiar to Lalique, who was from Champagne in the Northern France. One characteristic of his works is that many of them feature plants and insects. The director, who has been collecting works by Lalique, decided to open the museum in Sengokuhara in Hakone, where beautiful nature remains, as suitable for his works with a feel of nature.
<img src="https://s3-ap-northeast-1.amazonaws.com/thegate/2019/06/14/11/29/30/hakone-lalique-museum-main.jpg" alt="Brooch "Sylphide (fairy of wind) or feathered Siren" />
Brooch "Sylphide (fairy of wind) or feathered Siren" (1897-1899)
In the museum. you can always see over 200 pieces of works by Lalique. Above all, the brooch "Sylphide (fairy of wind) and feathered Siren" is a must-see. The work shows that Lalique valued the quality of jewelry over its price. Email or cloisonné (one of metal-crafting techniques) was applied to this work that has a colorful glow like that of a stained glass. It is one of his signature jewelry works.
■ The museum itself has received an architecture award
the jewelry exhibition room
When visiting Lalique Museum Hakone, it is recommended that you pay attention to the building's architecture as well as its art works. With every step forward , you should notice not only the art works but also the design of the exhibition room, which enhances the works' beauty.
The museum has actually won a BCS Award by Japan Federation of Construction Contractors that celebrates outstanding architecture.
Coexisting with rich nature, the exhibition elaborately brings forth the charm of each work by Lalique. Since the exhibition space keeps changing its expression, you can get immersed in the world of his works without getting bored.
■ A peaceful teatime at the Orient Express
The interior view of the Orient Express
Lalique had a solid status as a glass craftsman in France at that time. He also worked on the interior decorative panel of the Orient Express, the luxury train which is still loved by people all over the world. At the museum, the Orient Express that used to be in operation is on exhibition. This is the only place in Japan where you can enjoy a teatime inside the train with Lalique's glass decorations around.
elegant teatime on the Orient Express
Why not spend an elegant time while enjoying the museum's original cake made by its pastry chef?
〒250-0631 186-1 Hakone-machi, Sengokuhara
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM (Last entry : 4:30 PM)
Open every day
Adults : 1,500 yen High school and College students, Seniors (65 and older) : 1,300 yen Junior High and Elementary school students : 800 yen Disability certificate holder : 750 yen (one attendant : 750 yen)
Other museums to visit in the Sengokuhara area
【The Kowakudani / Ashinoyu area】
The Kowakudani and Ashinoyu areas respectively have one of Hakone's 17 major hot springs, Kowakudani Hot Spring and Ashinoyu Hot Spring. In this high-altitude area, you can enjoy seeing art while feeling the fresh air.
Unravel the history from a "small world" at Dollhouse Museum Hakone
The exterior of Hakone Dollhouse Museum
■ The only museum in Japan that is dedicated to dollhouses
Dollhouse Museum Hakone stands in the Ashinoyu area in Hakone-machi.
This art museum, which stands along the former Hakone Kaido Road, was once the Ashinoko Flower Center beautifully colored by lots of plants. After the flower center was closed, Doll Museum Hakone opened in 2017 to leverage the location and the building. With ongoing renovation, elaborately-made dollhouses in 1/12 of the real-life sizes are still on exhibition.
Refurbished Former Flower Center
The director, who had originally produced various exhibition projects, experienced the appeal of dollhouses in one of his projects, and collected dollhouses from all over the world for over 20 years.
The museum's collection includes antique dollhouses of the world's two largest collections, the British Vivian Green Collection and the American Motz Miniature Collection. It is the only museum in Japan that is dedicated to dollhouses.
■ Learn the historical background and culture through the dollhouses
A small playhouse where the present English Queen Elizabeth II spent her childhood
Dollhouses are defined as small houses, such as miniature houses and furniture, whose standard sizes are 1/12 of the real-life sizes. It is said that their origin can be traced back to the mid -16th century, when a German aristocrat had a craftsperson make a dollhouse to cultivate his daughter's ascetic sensibility.
an elaborately made miniature world (from Motz Miniature Collection)
The director Mr. Niimi says, "It is enjoyable just to take your time and see the small world, but you can also enjoy learning the historical background, culture and architectural structure of the works, and "travelling" to their countries through the dollhouses from all over the world. Of course, you can enjoy playing, collecting, and actually making them, which are possible only for dollhouses.
■ You can also get the interior view of the dollhouses in VR
Enter the world of dollhouses in VR
The museum offers VR videos so that visitors can feel closer to dollhouses. With goggles on, you can get a 360° view of the dollhouse interior as if you were in the miniature world.
Miniature daily necessities
In addition, dollhouse-related items and one-of-a-kind items by woodworkers in Hakone and Odawara are available at the shop. The shop boasts a specialized assortment of products. The museum is sure to satisfy children and adults, for you can fully enjoy the attraction of dollhouses by seeing, learning, touching and playing with them.
〒250-0523 84-55 Hakone-machi Ashinoyu, Kanagawa Prefecture
10:00 AM to 5:30 PM (last entry 5:00 PM) * November and December: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM (last entry 4:30 PM)
the second and fourth Tuesdays every month, December 31 to January 3rd
Adult: 1,200 yen Student: (junior high, high school, or college student): 1,000 yen Child (elementary school student): 700 yen *Younger child: free of charge
Enjoy Eastern art while relaxing in a foot bath at the Okada Museum of Art
The exterior view of the Okada Museum of Art
■ Five floors in total! Enjoy Eastern art works
The Okada Museum of Art is located in the Kowakudani area, which is also famous as a hot spring resort.
The museum, which was opened as recently as in 2013, is outstanding in property size and number of exhibits though it is a private museum. At the museum, 450 pieces of art works are always on exhibition view, with an extensive collection of items ranging from famous to rare art works. The collection includes archaeological relics, such as Japanese Jomon ware (earthenware with straw-rope patterns from the Neolithic Period), earthen figures, and haniwa figures (clay figures that were buried with the dead in Japan in the 3rd to 6th centuries AD), Buddhism artworks, calligraphy, Maki-e (Japanese lacquer sprinkled with gold or silver powder), and artifact crafts. The majority of the collection are Japanese-style paintings and Eastern-Asian pottery and porcelain from the modern period.
A mural named “Kaze / Time” (39ft x 98ft) made by the Japanese painter Mr. Kotaro Fukui is a masterpiece that represents the museum.
The painting is Mr. Fukui's recreation on a total of 640 gold panels of Wind God and Thunder God, which is a signature work by Tawaraya Sotatsu designed as a National Treasure. Sotatsu is also referred to as the forefather of the Rinpa, a school of art in the Edo period. Even some time of 400 years have passed, Sotatsu is still reproduced in Mr. Fukui's drawing.
The gold folding screen displayed on the third floor
The museum has five floors in total, each of which has Japanese, Chinese and Korean pottery and porcelain, paintings, calligraphy, and Buddhism art. In the dark exhibition room, the artworks look three dimensional illuminated by down lighting and indirect lighting.
Guidance Touch Panel
For famous items and rare items, guidance touch panels are available. You can choose from Japanese, English, Chinese or Korean, and learn about the background of the artworks. The touch panel also offers guidance written in simple language for children, and is popular among visitors of all generations.
■ Immerse yourself in a world of art with thorough security.
You cannot bring a cell phone or camera into the museum. Before you enter the museum, you need to put them in a locker and get screened at the security gate.
Regarding why their security is so thorough, Mr. Chikamori in the public relations says, "Visitors can better immerse themselves in the world of art without their phones and cameras. Although the museum has patrol staff, there is no surveillance staff stationed at each exhibition room. We make sure that visitors can fully enjoy the works without being self-conscious."
You can spend a reserved time with the works of art free from noise and without worrying about how you look to others. The museum provides such an "art-filled" time.
■ Enjoy a time with art in a footbath
Footbath café at the Okada Museum of Art
One of the attractions here is the Footbath Café, where you can enjoy a Hakone hot spring in front of the mural “Wind/Time” (a famous historical painting of the Wind God and Thunder God).
Here, you can enjoy a footbath of 100% natural hot spring water with no warming or added water. Admission to the museum is complimentary. If you’re just taking a footbath, you can do so by paying 500 yen at the front desk.
The menu of Footbath Café
The café offers various items including beer, coffee, tea, and soft serve. After a long walk around the extensive garden in the back of the museum property, why not take a footbath to heal the tired feet?
〒250-0406 493 Kowakudani, Hakone, Ashigarashimo District, Kanagawa Prefecture
9:00 AM to 5:00 PM (last entry: 4:30 PM)
New Years Eve, New Years Day, Closed occasionally for exhibition renewal
Adult or college student：2,800 yen elementary to high school students：1,800 yen ＜Japanese-style Garden＞ admission：300 yen ＜Footbath＞ Footbath only ：500 yen *Free of charge for museum visitors ＜Parking＞ ・Free of charge for museum visitors ・Garden-only visitors or footbath-only user: free of charge for an hour（500 yen /hour after the first hour）
Brochures available in Japanese, English and Chinese Guide available in Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean *Guidance touch panel available for some art works
【The Gora area】
The Gora area is said to have flourished as a villa area for those who worked in the financial industry during the Meiji era. There are many sites all over the area where a modern view makes you visualize the Meiji era. The Gora area has a flow of elegant and gentle air that is classic to Hakone and is perfect for admiring art.
Hakone Museum of Photography, where you can enjoy various views of Mount Fuji
Hakone Museum of Photography
■ Rediscover the charm of Hakone through photos
Hakone Museum of Photography stands in the Gora area in Hakone. As the name suggests, it is an art museum displaying photographic works.
Endo Katsura, a photographer born and raised in Hakone, opened this museum in 2002 for the purpose of preserving and utilizing the works and devices of his grandfather, who was a landscape photographer. He also exhibits his own photographic works in order to promote his original works based in Hakone.
This museum is perfect for people who want to get to know the beautiful scenery of Hakone and experience its beautiful nature.
■ The museum where you can get to know the beauty of Mount Fuji
Pictures of the beautiful Mount Fuji are on view at the exhibition room
Many photos of Mount Fuji are exhibited in this museum. In the Permanent Exhibition, you can see superb views of Mt. Fuji up close shot by Endo Katsura with an 8x10 large format camera.
Another important characteristic is that the photos are taken with a film camera instead of a digital camera. The advantages of digital cameras are that you can take many photos and choose ones on data while film cameras are not as convenient since you need to go to the trouble of developing all the photos you took, and you can't check photos immediately after you took them.
Making use of this downside as an advantage, however, you can create tasteful photographic works by taking your time to photograph changing views of Mount Fuji.
The expression of Mount Fuji varies from morning, noon, afternoon, to evening as well as from season to season. Feel the majesty and beauty of nature from the fantastic works where a moment of the mountain has been captured.
■ Special sweets are available at the on-site cafe
Café Plaisir de l’œuf
At the onsite café Café Plaisir de l’œuf, you can enjoy cake made by a pastry chef who studied in Paris.
Pound Cake by the pastry chef
The café offers delicious pound cake with moist texture and rustic flavor and special items that are associated with the works and photographers. How about spending a teatime at this café surrounded by greenery after enjoying the beautiful scenery in the museum?
〒250-0408 1300-432 Gora, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun
10:00 AM to 5:00 PM (last entry)
Tuesdays, other temporary closure
Adult: 500 yen Child: 300 yen 6-year-old or younger: free of charge
Brochures available in Japanese, English and Chinese
Other museums to visit in the Gora area
Spending art-filled time surrounded by nature in Hakone
Rich in nature, Hakone is a perfect area to admire art works.
Japanese-style paintings, Karakuri, Lalique, dollhouses, Eastern art, and photos. Hakone has art museums with various concepts and themes all over. It is also recommended to look for your own favorite museum when sightseeing in Hakone. How about enjoying an art-filled trip where your heart gets satisfied surrounded by nature?