Hakone Open Air Museum was the first of its kind in Japan and today it remains one of the most popular due to its harmonious balance of art and nature. The Museum is most known for its outdoor sculptures, but it also has a number of indoor museums with paintings, prints, ceramics and sculptures. One of the indoor museums houses their Picasso collection, which has more than 300 items.
What I love about this museum is that it is great for children, even toddlers. Below are some photos of the activities available to children;
The “Garden of Stars” is a life-size maze for all ages. You can watch from the top or go down into the maze and try it for yourself.
The “Woods of Nets” is a fun space for kids of all ages. The floor beneath the swings and the climbing maze of the nets is padded. There are low down entrances into the climbing maze, that even toddlers can climb into.
The “Curved Space – Diamond Structure” is another type of climbing space. Smaller children would need to be accompanied by older children or adults.
The “Symphonic Sculpture” is a tower in the centre of the museum. There are great views of the surrounding landscape from the top of the tower.
They loan out baby strollers and wheelchairs for free, subject to availability of course. They also have free lockers, for storing small items of luggage, available. There is a foot spa located beside the Gallery Cafe and Shop. There are two restaurants as well as two cafes. We ate in the “Bella Foresta” restaurant, which is an all-you-can-eat buffet style restaurant. There wasn’t a huge selection, but it was big enough to have something for everyone. There are at least six male and female bathrooms throughout the museum and three multi user toilets which have baby changing facilities.
The museum is open all year round from 9am to 5pm, last entry at 4.30pm. Children up to five years old can enter for free. For up to date entrance fees for older children and adults, please see their website. When we went in 2011 we accessed the museum by car and it was well sign posted and easy to find. The parking at that time was 500円 for the day. The museum is a two minute walk from Chokoku no Mori station on the Hakone Tozan Line. There is also a bus that goes from JR Odawara Station or Odakyu Hakone Yumoto Station to Ninotaira Iriguchi Station which is a five minute walk from the museum.
Address and contact details
Ninotaira, Hakone-Town, Kanagawa-Prefecture, 250-0493 Japan
Tel: 0460-82-1161 Fax: 0460-82-1169
Restaurant and shop information: 0460-82-1141