Monday, October 7, 2019

An Itinerary of Do-Nothing

Given we have been to Hakone before, albeit more than a decade ago, and hit most of the tourist spots back then, we decided to bypass the common itinerary and hit a few spots slightly off the beaten track, so instead we spent a leisure afternoon walking through a few galleries/museums in the proximity of the hotel.

We felt sitting at one of the outdoor tables at the cafe at Lalique Museum was the best way to start our museum crawl, with gorgeous view of the beautiful garden under the blue sunny sky. They have a good selection of simple and seasonal dishes (and made use of many local ingredients) so it's a perfect spot for an easy lunch. The museum collection, housed in a small building tucked at the back, was dedicated to the work of Rene Lalique and his design house, with everything from fine jewelry and glassware which made him famous during the Art Nouveau era in the late 1800's to early 1900's.

Not far away up the street was The Little Prince Museum, dedicated to another French import, this time an animation character. Well, rather to treating it as a bona fide museum, it’s probably best thinking of this as a glorified theme park ride on foot, where visitors could wander around a replica of a small French village with plenty of spots for photography. There’s some exhibits and presentation about the book, but probably not something you must see unless you are a die-hard fan. Still, it’s a charming place to visit.

Further up on the other side of town was another park called Venetian Glass Museum with structures that resembled a big European mansion or chateau with a man-made lake in the center. The place dedicated to glass art with antique pieces dated a few centuries to some contemporary ones scattered throughout the premise, either indoor or outdoor. This is probably the place with most activities for all ages, with everything from workshop to a huge museum shops to a nice café/restaurant facing the lake. We particularly love the little garden with colorful flowers made of glass.

Late September was not yet the time for fall foliage when the whole mountain will turn into a sea of golden and red leaves, but early autumn was the right time when the Sengokuhara Susuki Fields turned into light gold color with stalks of pampas grass filled the whole rolling hills. It's a pity that we didn't manage to spend more time here despite passing by a few times by car, but at least before we left, we asked our taxi driver to make a quick stop so we could steal a few snaps of this amazing view.

Probably not the most common sights of one might have visiting Hakone, nor one we would recommend for those visiting the area for the first time and look for actual things to do, but we thought the idea of relax and do absolutely nothing worked just fine with us.

Lalique Museum Hakone:
The Little Prince Museum:
Venetian Glass Museum:

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