The blog for inspired travel with children

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Japan: The Hakone Open-Air Museum

We’ve been dreaming about traveling to Japan lately.  One child-friendly place I don’t want to miss is the Hakone Open-Air Museum.  Visiting a conventional museum can be tricky, but this is a museum where my child can wander and play and explore to his heart's delight.  And so can I!

The art is varied and fantastic; the focus is modern and contemporary sculpture.  Pieces are rotated seasonally.  There is also a large (indoor) collection of work by Picasso, featuring mainly ceramics but also including paintings, sculpture, and more.

"Floating Sculpture" by Marta Pan (1969)

"Miss Black Power" by Niki De Saint Phalle (1968) 

"Engraved Wind" by Flow Masayuki (1979)

The museum is particularly child-friendly. They offer a special map for children incorporating a finding game; it includes a stylus which “reads” the name of each piece when it’s pointed to on the map.  

Interactive Children's Map

Children are also admitted for free on Saturdays. Many of the sculptures are interactive, including an indoor play area, a big outdoor maze, a spiral staircase enclosed by stained glass and glitter, and a giant sculpture made from colorful netting. 

Forest Castle Bubble (left) and and The Net (right)

I love The Museum's description of The Net (as translated by Google):

“Let me play with abandon play sculpture that is felt in the whole body, the senses and the sense of color modeling through play.”

Sounds good to me!

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