The Hakone Open-Air Museum is a 200-acre park dotted with fascinating sculptures. When it opened in 1969, it was Japan’s first open-air museum; now its collection includes more than 1,000 sculptures, with about 120 on permanent display. Artists whose sculptures are exhibited include Pablo Picasso, Henry Moore, and Constantin Brâncuși.
The Open-Air Museum is a must-see during any visit to Hakone, a picturesque town in the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, southwest of Tokyo. Art aficionados will love it, but so will travelers with a wide range of interests, as the park is spacious, well-tended, and full of fun photo opportunities. Travelers usually visit while touring the Hakone area on a day or overnight trip from Tokyo.
Things to Know Before You Go
- There are indoor exhibition areas too, which make a nice refuge when the weather is bad.
- The on-site café offers good views of the gardens.
- Advance ticket reservations are recommended to save time, but this can only be done within Japan.
- This is a good destination for kids, as there is lots of open space and a Children’s Pavilion.
How to Get There
The most direct route to the museum from Tokyo via public transit is to take the Shinkansen (bullet train) to Odawara. From there, take the Odakyu Line to Hakone Yumoto Station, then take the Hakone Tozan Railway to Chokoku-no-Mori Station. From there, the museum is a short walk.
When to Get There
The museum is open from 9am until 5pm year-round. Last entry is a half-hour before closing, and you should aim to spend at least an hour here. In winter there could be snow, but that makes the outdoor park all the more photo-worthy.
Hakone is very popular with Japanese tourists, and for good reason, as there are a number of easy outdoor activities to enjoy. One of the best things to do in the town is to take the Hakone Ropeway up to Owakudani. On a clear day, there are spectacular views of Mount Fuji.