Hakone Glass Forest

            One of the most beautiful museums that I have had the pleasure of visiting in Japan. 

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The Venetian Glass museum, otherwise known as Hakone’s Glass Forest, will literally stop you in your tracks. This place was wondrous, magical and let’s not stop there, it was simply a beautiful place to experience. To be honest I wasn’t expecting the grounds and the museum itself to be presented in such a way. I wasn’t expecting to see these types of sculptures that were presented around the landscaped gardens. I would say that the term ‘gobsmacked’ represented how I felt when I first walked through the entrance to the museum.

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Throughout the gardens there are approximately 100 glass sculptures on show, and one sculpture in-particular caught my eye.

The ‘Palazzo Ducale Chandelier’ is 2.7 metres tall with a width of 2.4 metres! This very artistic structure consists of more than 500 twisted glass pieces.

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The main characteristic of this piece in Japanese is: 空に向かって高くてそびえる (sora ni mukatte takakute sobieru). When translated into English it means, ‘soaring into the sky‘, which may sound a little odd. But when you start to understand the artistic meaning and design of the sculpture, the term soaring into the sky  is actually very fitting.  It could be interpreted as describing the way the twisted glass climbs its way upwards towards the sky.

Well, that is how I would look at it. 

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I almost forgot that I was in Japan with the Italian influenced architecture and the unusual, almost wacky, styled gardens.

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Throughout the garden there were trees covered in crystals, which was very different and unique to see.

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There was one structure that caught every single person’s eye and was one of the most popular areas to have your photo taken.

This arch stood proudly over one of the main bridges in the garden. The arch is made up of thousands of crystals which are hanging by threads that reach to the ponds surface.

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The museum has a cafe style restaurant, studio where you can learn to make different crafts, and a fabulous gift shop that lit my eyes up when I saw all the pretty sparkly objects that were on offer. There are also tours and concerts held at the Venetian Glass Museum. During my visit to the museum I was able to witness one of Japan’s most talented folk musicians, Senjiya, who was performing on the day.

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If you are ever travelling to Hakone and happen to have the opportunity to visit this museum, I would highly recommend that you do. It isn’t Japanese and it doesn’t have traditional Japanese gardens, but it is a very unique and artistic place, and it is inspiring and defiantly worth seeing.

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By Bonnie-Marie Hibbs

©BMHPhotographyTheGardener’sNotebook2013

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