Hakone Garasunomori Museum

Hakone Garasunomori Museum combines an exquisite garden of glass art with galleries, workshops, and dineries housed in Italian-style buildings. Surrounded by Hakone’s lush green mountains, Hakone Garasunomori Museum is Japan’s first art museum specialising in Venetian glass and displays pieces from the 15th century to the modern day.

Glass forest of ineffable beauty that teleports you to Venice

Hakone Garasunomori Museum - glassy garden
Image credit: Odakyu Electric Railway Co., Ltd.& Odakyu Hakone Holdings, Inc.

Upon entry, your breath will be taken away by a quaint Venetian garden out of a fairy tale. 

Hakone Garasunomori Museum - crystal corridor
Image adapted from: @hakonegarasunomori

Cross over a dainty bridge under the Corridoio, a 9m-tall and 10m-long arch with 160,000 pieces of crystal glass glistening under the sun. Taking photos will create an automatic rainbow sparkle effect.  

Hakone Garasunomori Museum - flowers and cattails made from glass
Image adapted from: @hakonegarasunomori, @hakonegarasunomori

Bejewelled flowers and cattails blend in with the real seasonal blooms, glitzing up the flowerbeds as they sway in the wind. 

Hakone Garasunomori Museum - cottagecore corers
Image adapted from: Odakyu Electric Railway Co., Ltd. & Odakyu Hakone Holdings, Inc., snowmonkeyresorts

The delicate pavilions and a small water mill on the bank of a stream deliver cottagecore vibes against the backdrop of Hakone’s forests. 

Hakone Garasunomori Museum - tangle of glass art
Image credit: Just One Cookbook

The Palazzo Ducale Chandelier is a curious entanglement of glass, and has a twin in Venice’s Murano Glass Museum. Crafted by Venetian glass artist Dale Chihuly, who’s famous for his blow glass art, the work is the centerpiece of the pond.

Hakone Garasunomori Museum - Christmas light up
Image credit: Hakone Garasunomori Museum

The 8m-tall Fontana flash trees are made up of 45,000 pieces of cut crystals. Come Christmas, these illuminated trees transform the garden into a winter wonderland at night. Opening hours are extended by 1 hour from 23rd to 25th December

Hakone Garasunomori Museum - Christmas candles
Image credit: Hakone Garasunomori Museum

From 10th December, candles will light up terraces, bridges, and pathways with their warm glow the moment 4pm strikes.

Cafe terrace overlooking Hakone mountain range

Hakone Garasunomori Museum - terrace seats
Image credit: Hakone Garasunomori Museum

La Canzone is a cafe-cum-restaurant serving a range of exquisite Italian cuisine. For the best views, consider picking the outdoor seats on the 1st floor, which allows you to dine amongst greenery. There’s also an indoor seating area on the 1st floor, should you choose to stay out of the sun.

Hakone Garasunomori Museum - inddor seats
Indoor seats at La Canzone.
Image credit: Hakone Garasunomori Museum

The 2nd floor, which only has indoor seating, has large windows that grants a good view of surrounding nature while you dine

Hakone Garasunomori Museum - Western food
Image adapted from: Hakone Garasunomori Museum, Hakone Garasunomori Museum, Hakone Garasunomori Museum

From a deluxe roast beef and pasta course (¥4,980, ~USD35.89) to the classic Caesar salad (¥1,980, ~USD14.27) to gateau chocolat (¥980, ~USD7.06), La Canzone caters to both lovers of savoury and sweet. 

In true Italian fashion, the drinks menu includes espresso (¥400, ~USD2.96) and cappuccino (¥580, ~USD4.29)

Hakone Garasunomori Museum - Italian singing
Image adapted from: HOTEL GREEN PLAZA

The cafe is aptly named after Canzoni, a type of Italian ballad tha is performed live by an Italian singer while you dine. At LaCanzone, the 15-minute repertoire is repeated hourly between 11am to 4pm. There are also piano and violin performances throughout the day.

Appreciate art in the museums, workshops & souvenir shops 

Moving away from the fusion of art with the natural world outdoors, the indoor exhibitions provide an in-depth look at glass art through the ages. 

Hakone Garasunomori Museum - gorgeous royal museum
Image credit: Hakone Garasu No Mori Museum

The Venetian Glass Museum displays classic pieces from as far back as the 15th century. Befitting of its exhibits, the gallery looks like an ancient castle – it’s lined with royal red carpet and domed arches, and lit by magnificent chandeliers.

Hakone Garasunomori Museum - quirky modern glass art
Image credit: Focomo Co.,Ltd.

The adjacent Venetian Glass Modern Museum showcases innovative works from modern day artists, including Dale Chihuly. The whimsical shapes and vibrant colours of these artwork demonstrate the limitless potential of glass.

Hakone Garasunomori Museum - glass art workshop
Image adapted from: Hakone Garasu No Mori Museum, Hakone Garasu No Mori Museum

If you’re inspired by the creativity showcased in the galleries, try your hand at making glass art. You’ll learn to transfer decorative patterns onto glass at the sandblasting workshop. And at the fusing experience studio, you’ll be transforming glass bits into sparkling keychains.

Hakone Garasunomori Museum - glass art from renowned artists
Image credit: Hakone Garasu No Mori Museum

Both workshops provide stencils with seasonal motifs that you can incorporate into your DIY souvenir. You’re advised to make advanced reservations on the Hakone Garasunomri ticketing website for the workshops before the day of your visit. 

Hakone Garasunomori Museum - glass art souvenir shop
Image credit: Focomo Co.,Ltd.

Even the museum shop is aesthetically designed to close your visit with lasting impressions of an idyllic Venetian garden. To wrap up your trip, we recommend purchasing a piece of glass art to call your own. With over 100,000 items including works imported directly from Venice, you’ll be spoilt for choice. 

How to get to Hakone Garasunomori Museum

Hakone Garasunomori Museum - outdoor glass exhibits
Image credit: Kanagawa Prefectural Government

Hakone Garasunomori Museum is just one of the many delightful museums in Hakone with a sophisticated blend of art and nature. 

If you’ve got some time to spare, also consider visiting The Little Prince Museum that’s just a 10-minute walk away. It’s home to a charming rose garden and a recreation of the Parisian neighborhood of The Little Prince’s author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. 

Getting there:

  • By train: From Tokyo Station, take the Takaido Shinkansen to Odawara Station. Then, take the Hakone Tozan Bus bound for Kojiri Togendai and alight at Hakone Glass Forest. 
  • By bus: From Shinjuku Express Bus Terminal, take the Odakyu Highway Bus and alight at Hakone Glass Forest.

Admission: ¥1,800 (~USD12.79)/adult | ¥1,700 (~USD12.19)/seniors above 65 | ¥1,300 (~USD9.32)/college & high school student | ¥600 (~USD4.30)/junior high student
Address: 940-48 Sengokuhara, Hakone, Ashigarashimo District, 250-0631, Kanagawa
Opening hours: 10am-5.30pm (Last admission 5pm) | 30th & 31st Dec 10am-4.30pm (Last admission 4pm) | Closed 10th – 20th Jan 2023
Contact: 0460-86-3111 | Hakone Garasunomori Museum website

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Cover image adapted from: snowmonkeyresorts, Fantastic places in cool Japan, snowmonkeyresorts

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