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Posts tagged hakone


picasso museum hakone open air museum

Inside the Hakone Open-Air Museum is a Picasso Museum. I once read somewhere that Japanese museums like to collect works of famous artists even if the pieces aren’t the artist’s best work or famous in their own right. That was the impression I received at this Picasso Museum. While everything was done by Picasso, much of it seemed like “junk.”

We saw some really nice Picasso works in Denmark and Paris last summer. Each one seemed better than the best in this dedicated Picasso Museum.

Back to the Hakone Open-Air Museum

hakone open air museum kids play structure

This work of art also doubles as a play structure for kids. Think of a McDonald’s play structure in the states that has been fused with a giant beehive from another futuristic planet. This work is entitled しゃぼん玉のお城 or “The Soap Bubble Castle” in English.

The sign says そとがわにのぼらないでください which, as you might guess, means “please don’t climb on the outside.” The placement of the signs, on the piece itself, is unfortunate. The signs sort of defeat the purpose of the art portion of the structure by breaking up the natural lines and symmetry.

Kids are free to explore the inside, just like at McDonald’s.

Flying at The Hakone Open-Air Museum

flying horse man The Hakone Open-Air Museum

As the name suggests, many of the works at The Hakone Open-Air Museum are in the “open air” (野外彫刻). This outdoor sculpture by Carl Milles entitled “Man and Pegasus” (カール・ミレス’s「人とペガサス」) really wanted to take flight.

The Hakone Open-Air Museum (箱根彫刻の森美術館)

The Hakone Open Air Museum (箱根彫刻の森美術館)

I have shown you several photos from The Hakone Open-Air Museum before, but this is the first one from the outside. I think I’ll present several images from the inside over the next week or so.

Sulfur hot springs

Owakudani hakone hot spring vents steam japan

Note that these images are not from Tamagawa, the place Booth describes below. Nor do I have any of the naked Akita bijins he mentions. 🙁 However, when I read the passage below I was reminded of these photographs that I took at Owakudani, near Hakone.

Owakudani river

Owakudani hot springs water

“Outside, in the hissing bed of the stream, metal pipes and a wooden trough stained bright yellow by the sulfur carried the hot spring water to the baths. The water is a bare two degrees below boiling when it comes out of the earth, and so the stream is practically invisible, shrouded day and night in billows of white vapor. The smell of the springs is overpowering, and in the huge wooden bathhouse where you grope your way to the pool of your choice through a permanent curtain of cloying steam, the stench is so heavy it chokes your throat till, after a while, you learn to breathe very gently and regularly as in a sauna.

But perhaps the most remarkable thing about Tamagawa is the fact that men and women bathe together. This was often so before ‘Westernization,’ and its survival here must be one of the reasons why the Japan Travel Bureau is so sniffy about ‘primitiveness.’ I found nothing primitive about it. I thought it a joy to lie and watch old women with breasts hanging down to their bellies giggling like schoolgirls while they scrubbed their husbands’ backs and eyed the one or two muscled young men who skipped self-consciously from pool to pool dangling hand towels in front of their crotches. The beauty of the Akita bijin does not appear to suffer much with age; the grandmothers’ faces were often as radiant as sixteen-year-olds’. The younger bijin stayed irritatingly out of sight–though, on reflection, that was probably just as well, since it enabled my enthusiasm for the primitive to continue at a cerebral level.”

(Alan Booth in The Roads to Sata p. 81-82)

Mt. Fuji

mt. fuji japan lake ashi hakone

This is the view of Mt. Fuji after some serious zoom work and a nice crop from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

Just kidding. I would say something similar while heading south on the Golden Gate Bridge (天気がよければ右手の方によく見ると富士山が見えるでしょう) when I was a tour guide in San Francisco for a Japanese company. You’d be surprised how many customers I had who actually looked hard out the window to the west before I told them I was just joking.

Actually, this is from Lake Ashi (芦ノ湖) near Hakone. My camera was at only 35mm and there was no crop so you can see how impressive Fuji San is from this neck of the woods. We were tailing a boat very similar to the one we were on.

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