hatoneFor Hidamari fans looking for pilgrimage destinations, there aren’t many options. Very few places seen in the series are explicitly based on real-life locations. These include Destiny Land (Tokyo DisneySea), several spots in Hokkaido, and, of course, the “Hatone” (Hakone) Open-Air Museum. On January 18th I took the opportunity to travel to Hakone while I was still in Tokyo.

The chapter in which the girls visit this museum was published in 2010, but fortunately it appears the majority of sculptures that were in the outdoor exhibit at that time are still on display today. However, it should be noted that the sculptures Ume depicts are entirely fictional.

This is a fairly brief report, but I hope you enjoy it! Please excuse the poor quality pictures, as I have only a cheap point-and-click. Even the old man who offered to take my photo pointed out how ancient it was.

choukokunoharaThe scenic mountain-climbing train is the easiest way to get to the museum. This is the sign at the station, where you can see how Hidamari changes all names by a kanji or two. Notice that sticker correcting the elevation to 539 meters? I googled some old photos and it turns out this sign really did say 551 meters at the time the episode was animated.

stationClassic SHAFT.

resonance-of-lifeThe piece in front of the main entrance is “Resonance of Life” by Susumu Shingu. Supposedly some kind of fountain, but seeing as it’s winter and people probably wouldn’t enjoy being splashed with freezing cold water, it wasn’t turned on.


Remember when everyone tried guessing the title of “Metallic Cylinder”? What could this shiny, pointy thing be called, I wonder? Highlight for answer: “Pole” by Minami Tada

fractureSpeaking of artwork with self-evident titles, the piece that reminded me most of Nazuna’s “Fracture” was “Sixteen Turning Sticks” by Takamichi Ito. A motor in its base keeps the sticks rotating continuously, turning it into a cool illusion. Here’s a video I found of it in action:

Now, which sculptures could the Hidamari girls pose as?

statue1 statue2 statue3 statue4 statue5

…On second thought, that last one is the only one that doesn’t immediately bring Miyako to mind.

statue6In the background of this photo are the hot foot baths. You could take off your socks and shoes and bathe your feet in warm water heated by a local hot spring. I didn’t know about them since they weren’t mentioned in the episode, but it ended up being the most pleasant part of my visit! The building to the left is the gift shop and (overpriced) cafeteria. (I ended up eating lunch there anyway, if only because they did in Hidamari.)

There were indoor exhibits on Picasso, Henry Moore, and photography. No photos allowed, but I didn’t spot anything in particular that reminded me of the chapter.

touristsSpeaking of this scene, there was indeed a number of Chinese tourists. It wasn’t a busy day at all, though. I don’t think any other Americans came in while I was there.

Symphonic Sculpture

Another fascinating attraction not referenced in the episode was the “Symphonic Sculpture”, a tower with a stained glass interior. You could take a set of narrow stairs to the top and get quite a view of the mountains:


And that’s it! For further reading, you should also check out this post. They took a lot of pictures I missed, including what looks like the friendship sculpture Yuno and Miyako tried to imitate.

Let me know if you have any questions! Although I’ve probably forgotten a few things in the meantime.