Japan!: Hakone Open Air Museum

After we checked into our hotel, we took the train further up the mountain to the extremely fun to say Chokoku-no-mori to go to the Hakone Open Air Museum. It’s a huge area on a number of sloping hills, and gorgeous sculptures dot the landscape. The placement of the sculptures within the surrounding nature is really very stunning, and makes you consider the pieces differently.

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Man and Pegasus by Carl Milles

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The museum has a number of interactive areas for kids. This one was called Woods of Net. The net itself was designed and made by Toshiko Horiuchi Macadam, and the awesome building it was enclosed in (it was like Lincoln Logs!) was designed by Tezuka Architects. Kids under 12 could climb up and inside the net and move in, out, and around it. The girls loved it.

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This is Van Gogh a Travers Champsby Ossip Zadkine. I love that it’s out in nature- that he’s walking out to go paint.

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There’s a whole building dedicated to the work of one artist. Three guesses who it is, and the first two don’t count.

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This is called Fairy Chapel, so the girls were being fairies.

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This piece was absolutely breathtaking.  It’s called Symphonic Sculpture by Gabriel Loire. See those stairs along the bottom? Yeah, they go all the way to the top.

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The view from the top back down again was a bit vertigo inducing.  (You could also go out on the very top and look at the surrounding landscape.)

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And now we take a break from the art for Tiny’s blue eyes.

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The museum has an onsite free hot springs foot bath. We gratefully took advantage of it, as it was REALLY COLD outside.

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I didn’t get the name of this one, but I love it for it’s futility. EDIT- It’s titled Close. Don’t know the artist.

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This one is called The Hand of God. I don’t have the artist’s name.  Again, how awesome is it that this is outside??

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The girls sleeping on a fried egg.

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This piece was in the middle of a lake full of fish. And you could feed the fish.

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This was probably my favorite piece. I didn’t get the name of the piece or the artist. It’s supposed to be a monk, but situated as it is,  kind of tucked away in the trees, it was a vision of grief.

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The girls loved this dragon fellow.

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Feeding the fish.

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This was another sculpture the kids could climb in.

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The guidebook said to allot about an hour to the museum, we spent four hours, and could easily have stayed much longer. We didn’t even get to their multiple indoor exhibits, and we only left because they were closing. It was absolutely stunning with a winter landscape- I’m sure it would be completely amazing in the spring or summer.

After the museum we went to Gyoza Center, a restaurant specializing in Gyoza. Oh. my. goodness. So very very good. And we got to sit on pillows on the floor at a lowered table, which made the girls declare that we were the luckiest of all.

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Hakone day 2 in the next post!

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