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Things to Do in Hakone

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Narukawa Art Museum
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In a beautiful setting by Lake Ashinoko in Hakone, the Narukawa Art Museum Art holds a collection of more than 4000 Japanese (nihonga) paintings. Literally meaning ‘Japanese-style painting’, nihonga art follows traditional Japanese artistic conventions, and more recently has expanded to incorporate Western-style techniques too.

This is a small museum, yet each exhibition room has plenty of room for visitors to appreciate the art. In addition, there’s an impressive observatory lounge (and cafe) providing simply stunning panoramic views over Lake Ashinoko and the floating torii gate of Hakone Shrine from its huge glass windows. What’s more, on a clear day, the views extend to reveal the mighty Mount Fuji in the background.

There’s also a pleasant garden at the site, and don’t miss the museum’s unusual collection of kaleidoscopes.

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Pola Museum of Art
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Located within the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, the Pola Museum of Art opened in September 2002. This is the former head of the Pola group’s private collection, which features more than 9500 works of art, including many from the French Impressionism and École de Paris eras.

The museum sits within a forest of 300 year-old beech trees and is predominantly made up of glass, creating a sense of seamlessness with the natural environment that surrounds it. In addition, a large part of the building is located underground. The museum’s permanent collection includes works by artists such as Cezanne, Monet, Picasso, and Renoir, plus there are also modern temporary exhibits, with sculptures, ceramics, and glassware alongside paintings by both Japanese and European artists.

A museum cafe and restaurant gives visitors a chance to relax beside huge windows that open out onto lush green forest, and there’s also a 670-meter nature trail for those who wish to explore the forest further.

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Little Prince Museum
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Hakone’s Little Prince Museum is a fun destination for kids and all fans of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic storybook from the 1940s. The museum includes a reproduction of a French village, gardens, and displays relating to the French author’s life and work, as well as a good French restaurant and a gift shop.

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