Two Unforgettable Open Air Museums in Japan
Reputed for its burgeoning artistic scene and its contemporary contributions making waves across the globe, Japan is home to a number of museums, each specialised in a particular domain. Some of these have a particular talent for blending natural and artificial beauty; these open air museums with their unique architecture are able to render the experience of viewing art even more enjoyable. We pick two worth visiting right away!
POLA Museum of Art in Hakone, a must-see in Kanagawa prefecture
Open to the public since September 2002 and located in the heart of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu national park, this open air museum operates a lyrical interaction between art and nature. The institution is home to the collections of the Pola Foundation, an international cosmetics and property group which seeks to promote art and culture in Japan.
While the views from the Pola Museum are impressive enough in their own right, the construction has been intelligently developed in order to create a space that is in total harmony with nature, respecting the environment as much as possible. Constructed underground, the building doesn’t interfere with the wild landscape thanks to its numerous bay windows, illuminated by the magical light of the forest.
Inside the museum there are a number of works by the European masters, alongside Japanese and oriental works. Works come to life through the light that dances between artwork and architecture. From Renoir to Picasso and Monet, the Pola museum comprises thousands of works, 9500 to be precise, with around 400 coming from Europe.
The most charming part of the Pola museum is undeniably its garden brimming with sculptures. The institution offers a 40 minute walk through a 670m path, constructed to in order to navigate between the works, accompanied by birdsong and the calls of wild animals.
More information via the museum website.
Step back in time with the Edo Architecture Museum Tokyo
You’ll find the Edo Architecture Museum at the heart of the Koganei park, around 30 minutes outside of the centre of Tokyo. Open since 1993, the space is divided into three zones and reproduces various urban landscapes from different epochs. From the 17th century (Edo period) to the 20th century (Showa), this cultural space is home to a number of original and reconstructed buildings, offering viewers a fascinating insight into Japan’s history and its cultural heritage.
Among the 30 buildings you will find former tea houses, public baths and private residences. This immersive structure allows viewers to compare various architectural styles over time. Numerous events are organised by the museum, including the Sakura Festival, where visitors can participate in tea tasting among hundreds of flowering cherry trees.
More information here.
The Four Leaves Villa, The House That Mirrors Nature
Located in the heart of the Karuizawa forest in Japan, the Four Leaves Villa, designed by architecture studio Kias, blends into the landscape.
Pinku Eiga, the World of Erotic and Engaged Japanese Cinema
Pinku eiga (pink films), is a film genre that combines eroticism and violence and implicitly dissects the idiosyncrasies of Japanese society.
The Foundation Connecting Us to the Origins of Humankind
The Enoura observatory built by the architect Hiroshi Sugimoto was conceived of to highlight the unique light of the equinoxes and the solstices.
Hiroshi Nagai's Sun-Drenched Pop Paintings Pay Homage to California
Hiroshi Nagai, Japan's answer to David Hockney, has the gift of transporting viewers to the west coast of America as it was in the 1950s.
Zoetrope, the Temple of Japanese Bourbon
The only independent bar in the megalopolis which is dedicated purely to Japanese whisky, without a single drop of Scottish or other European varieties.