TheEye was looking forward to a few tranquil days in the famous hot springs resort of HAKONE, much favoured by wealthy Japanese for second homes and a popular weekend getaway destination. It’s very beautiful, lush and green with pine forests. However, nothing in life is perfect.
We arrived to discover a volcanic eruption from the very nearby volcano which had erupted three weeks ago and is still gurgling. Volcanic warning has gone up from ONE to TWO and the walking and hiking areas are no-go zones.


As if that wasn’t stress enough, in addition there is an earthquake situation too! No one actually told us, but when I almost fell off my seat during dinner (NO, I wasn’t drunk), I was told in a very matter of fact tone ‘ oh don’t worry just a tremor.’ Another couple followed. But two at night woke us up and were far stronger. Since no one else seems too concerned, we are following their lead.
BUT maybe we are mad??


Hakone Open-air Museum started as the first open air museum in Japan in 1969. Set in spectacularly landscaped grounds with five specialised exhibition halls including the Picasso Pavilion with paintings, ceramics, photographs, drawings, prints and sculptures.


The Pavilion entrance and a Leger sculpture

The Pavilion entrance and a Leger sculpture

120 sculptures by modern and contemporary artists including many of the ‘big names’: Leger, Henry Moore, Barbra Hepworth, Barry Flanagan, Niki de Saint Phalle and so on, are positioned beautifully in the magnificent grounds.


Lalanne Sculpture


Barbara Hepworth . Art and nature. In perfect harmony.



Niki de Saint Phalle


Henry Moore



Having curated exhibitions myself of outdoor sculpture in very different but similarly wonderful grounds of Chatsworth House, Sudeley Castle and The Bowes Museum, I know getting it right is a big challenge and Hakone have got it very right.


Children only pavilion



Caters for all ages and all tastes

People visit the Museum for different reasons. Art aficionados coming specially to see the Museum’s  fine collection, families for a picnic and a fun day out, whilst others want to fill their day but everyone leaves happily satisfied by a great experience.

Two Fried Eggs

Two Fried Eggs



A jolly boat ride in a ‘galleon’ across Lake ASHI.

Ticket collector on 'galleon' boat

Ticket collector on ‘galleon’ boat


Ship ahoy!

We had intended getting the ropeway (cable car) and a view of the crater. Alas, no ropeway possible due to the volcano alert and no view of Mount Fuji which TheEye is beginning to think might be a myth. Three visits to Japan and she’s never managed to see it, but looking on the bright side of life it was a lovely day.


Swan Lake ASHI

Happy Cappuccino Girl

Happy Cappuccino Girl

We bought black eggs which have been cooked in volcanic sulphur ash and will lengthen life by seven years!!!  I am eating many.

Walked through a cedar forest filled with the smell of cedar, and wild irises growing in the moss.




Art and nature

Art and nature



Although we didn’t see the crater itself we did see a lot of smoke AND we had lots of rides in funiculars!!




Oh, and the BIG TREAT was our first, and probably last, view of Mount Fuji rising in the mist as our high speed Shinkamsen train zoomed off heading towards KYOTO.




  1. Oh how I wish I was with you walking through that wood, not so sure about the eggs X

  2. Excellent, brillant images ….a journey of inspiration.

  3. Absolutely wonderful especially the sculpture park. I feel I was there with you. Glad the volcano did not do a full eruption.
    xx from Manhattan, Louise and Nicholas

  4. This is too wonderful and inspiring. We are going in October. I will swap you Chile tips for Japan tips, which I guess are all here anyway. Thank you for Sharing

  5. Enjoyed reading about this! A real Eye opener!

  6. Stunning particularly the Open Air Sculpt Park. The Eye’s Guide is inspirational and will become my ultimate Guide to Japan.

  7. Another visual feast for all of us left at home. Thank you, The Eye.

  8. Beautiful images and a great sense of humor

  9. JANICE THAT WAS DELIGHTFUL, it inspires me to visit Japan.. after my Calligraphy class I am really inspired! Mind you I only learned a handful of symbols so I would still be reading English in Japan! Lovely page. Didn’t get to do all I wanted in Venice last year-I did a lot however. My favorites were the Bianale, The Peggy Guggenheim- and the top of my fav’s the Museum De Fortuny. OH MY the Fortuny- WOW I think I cried when I got to the simple Japanese Zen style on the top floor- and the prices of the book store! Any hoo that just means I have to go back!See you soon, love to David. Kirsten

    • You definitely should visit Japan Kirsten. We are planning to return in October. We were only talking about you this morning as we are also planning to go to New Zealand next year.
      Would like some advice particularly regarding food and wine. will see you in E.H. in August. Baker House breakfast? Happy 2016.x

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