Hakone Open-Air Museum

First glimpse of the museum from the elevator.
Last fall when I was trapped like a sardine in the train towards Gora, Sounzon, and eventually Lake Ashino, I briefly saw a glimpse of the Hakone Open-Air Museum and decided that I would take the kids there next time we were in Hakone.  It is a great blend of contemporary art with nature, and it surprisingly had a lot more children activities than I expected.  I really just thought the kids were going to run around in the grass while I admired sculptures.  The grass is actually closed off (probably so kids aren't running into the structures), but there are plenty of other better places for the kids to exhaust their energy.

Once we walked through the tunnel, these were the first structures that caught my eye.  They are unrelated artwork as the one on the left is Grande Héracles Archer by Emile-Antoine Bourdelle and the one across the courtyard is Man & Pegasus by Carl Milles.  What great placements!

Their collection also includes artwork by Pablo Picasso and Henry Moore.

Powerful Mass by Izumi Ando

There is literally an Opening for Happy Handshake (Kentaro Kimura) in the structure, but my kids are not tall enough yet to reach each other...

...so they ran around and peeked through the opening.

Our first children's space stop:  Art Hall.  

This is such an intreresting structure.  The top level of the pyramid actually doesn't have a floor, so you can climb in and out of it.

This photo actually shows the underground exit of another part in the room.

It's Groundhog Day!  

The little surprises in this room are endless:  mini trampolines on the floor.
TJ giving The Big Hand (Rainier Kriester) a high five.

View of the Hakone Open-Air Museum from the relection of My Sky Hole (Bukichi Inoue).

Hey! by Shin Yamamoto

The second children's spot that we visited:  Woods of Net.

The name says it all.  It's a wooden structure with a huge net for children to climb inside.

TJ looks like Peter Pan.  There are small openings at the bottom, and the kids can climb it all the way to the top.

CJ enjoyed swinging on these.

TJ and his friend used it like a punching bag.

CJ lounging on these cute, crocheted tubes.  I kind of want one for our house!

Our last stop:  Curved Space-Diamond Structure.

This is so much better than any playground at McDonald's or Chuck E. Cheese's restaurants (not that those are hard places to beat), and I was really impressed by CJ's ability to climb the structure first.

They really enjoyed climbing up and then sliding down—more so than climbing to the top, but they were able to achieve that, too!

We still had more to see (pirate ship) on our one, dry day in Hakone, so we ended our time at the museum by dining at Bella Foresta, which is an all-you-can-eat buffet.  We arrived early, so we got a great table overlooking the museum and mountains.

Tip:  If you purchased the Hakone Freepass, you receive a ¥200 discount on your admission ticket.

Hakone Open-Air Museum
Hours:  9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Phone:  +81-(0)460-82-1161
Website:  http://www.hakone-oam.or.jp

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