Mesmerizing Aesthetic Spots in Hakone: An Art Town on the Outskirts of Tokyo

Photo by Kentaro Ohno/Flickr

Mesmerizing Aesthetic Spots in Hakone: An Art Town on the Outskirts of Tokyo

Hakone has a longstanding reputation as being one of the most popular day trips from Tokyo. Just a few hours away from the center, Hakone is a quaint town located in the western part of Kanagawa Prefecture that is jam packed with cultural and artistic spots guaranteed to provide an enticing experience for art enthusiasts. Though mainly associated with being an onsen town, Hakone in fact hosts some of the finest, world-class art museums in Japan that will leave you stunned.

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Mesmerizing Aesthetic Spots in Hakone: An Art Town on the Outskirts of Tokyo

Hakone Open Air Museum

Photo by Kentaro Ohno/Flickr

The Hakone Open Air Museum opened its doors to the public in 1966 with the mission to create a space that harmonizes a 'dialogue between nature and art'. Embedded at the heart of Japanese countryside, the museum showcases a vast collection from legendary international and local artists such as Miro, Rodin and Yoshitatsu Yanagihara that are beautifully dispersed within the vast 77,000 acres of space. The museum also dedicates an entire building to The Picasso Exhibition Hall which exclusively showcases more than 300 works including paintings, photographs, ceramics and more created by the iconic artist.

POLA Art Museum

Photo by Nick Richards/Flickr

A pioneer in Japan's beauty industry, the POLA group have expanded their ventures into the art world by establishing the POLA Museum of Art that showcases the late owner's extensive private art collection. Bearing the same vision as the Hakone Open Air Museum, POLA also intends to transfuse Hakone's lush nature with fine arts by purposely designing the architecture to be structured mostly underground, minimizing human disturbance and damage to the natural ecology.

The permanent collection of this museum exhibits fine European art from famed artists such as Monet, Cezanne, Renoir and other masters of impressionism. The museum also holds regular exhibitions such as the upcoming Surrealism exhibition that features works from the legendary Dali.

Okada Museum of Art

One of the latest additions to Hakone's museum scene, the Okada Museum of Art recently opened its doors a few years ago to showcase the private art collections of casino mogul Okada Kazuo. The collection features a vast variety of art pieces dating from ancient to modern era of exquisite East Asian treasures from China, Korea and Japan. After transcending into the realm of ancient art, visitors can sit back and enjoy a refreshing sip at the Kaikatei which is a Showa period tea house at the entrance of the museum garden. To fully encapsulate the spirit of Hakone, the museum also provides a foot bath complimentary for visitors with its waters sourced from natural hot springs.

The Little Prince Museum

Photo by Kentaro Ohno/Flickr

One of the most celebrated children's tales, The Little Prince by French author Antoine De Saint Exupery was immortalized in the grounds of Hakone through its very own 'The Little Prince Museum'. The museum also paid tribute to the author's life and upbringing by recreating a French townscape and European garden. Located in the highlands of Sengokuhara, the museum is decorated every winter season until the first week of January with beautiful illuminations.

Hakone Museum of Art

Photo by shuzo serikawa/Flickr

Perfectly capturing the essence of true Japanese aesthetics in the area, the Hakone Museum of Art exhibits collections that are exclusively Japanese art along with its beautiful traditional gardens that were skillfully designed by the museum founder Mokichi Okada. The main building displays ancient ceramic pieces from prehistoric times through the Edo Period. Not only rich in the nation's values and cultures, the surroundings are also covered in lush nature that is best visited around November when the autumn foliage is at its most colorful.


A short drive from the capital of Tokyo, head to Hakone for a blissful escape to one of the most aesthetic-filled regions studded with picturesque scenery. The area has long been known in every art collectors dream to showcase their treasures to the public view. The coexistence of nature, art and architecture of Hakone beautifully blends together in harmony perfectly showcasing the ideals of Japanese art. From contemporary to ancient, art lovers will be delighted with the endless aesthetic entertainment found in this area.