POLA Art Museum

Walk through art galleries featuring Monet, Manet, Chagall, and more

POLA is a art museum featuring impressionist and western art hidden in the forests near Gora. The museum has an interesting collection including pieces by Monet, Chagall, Manet, Renoir, and more. The museum has rooms focused on “Western Paintings and Sculpture”, “Japanese Paintings and Sculpture” and “Art Objects”.

This popular Hakone museum often has interesting and stimulating special exhibitions around different historical, natural, or cultural themes.



The Pola Museum of Art is nestled in a forest of beech trees and hidden in the wooded mountains of Hakone. The award winning modern architecture blends finds a beautiful contrast and harmony with the surrounding nature. The museum exhibits a world class collection of Western and Japanese paintings, ceramics, and cosmetic utensils, with a focus on impressionist paintings. A visit here makes for a wonderful day of art, culture, and nature. After viewing the works of Monet, Chagall, Van Gogh, Cezanne, Picasso, and more, visitors can relax at the museum store, restaurant, cafe, or take a stroll among the outdoor sculptures in the nature walk around the museum. The museum is built nestled in the mountain in the midst of trees, based on the concept of a “symbiosis between Hakone’s nature and art.”

The highlight of the Pola Museum of Art is the impressive collection of modern Western paintings, with a particularly high quality collection of impressionist works by Monet, Renoir, and others, which is one of the largest in Japan, with approximately 400 works in its collection.

Although centered on the Impressionist collection, the museum’s collection also includes works from art movements preceding Impressionism, such Renoir and Monet.  The painters of the generation after the Impressionists are also on display, the painters of the Ecole de Paris, a group of foreign painters who gathered in Paris in the 1920s. Leonard Foujita, Wassily Kandinsky, a pioneer of abstract painting, and the Surrealist painters are among those influenced by the Impressionists.

There are also special exhibitions featuring curated works around certain themes during the year. Past exhibits have included; “From Monet to Picasso and Chagall”, “Impressionism- LIght and Memory”, and “Surrealist Painting-Influences and Iterations”. Presently running until March 2022 is “Monet: In the Light”.

The Pola Museum of Art was opened in 2002 in Hakone, Japan. Hakone is a mountainous area 1 hour south of Tokyo and easily accessible by train. The location was chosen as a place to incorporate art with the lush mountain surroundings of nature. The collection was assembled by Suzuki Tsuneshi (1930-2000), the second-generation founder of POLA, a Japanese cosmetics company. The collection took over 40 years to amass and comprises a total of 10,000 items, including Western paintings, Japanese Western paintings, Japanese prints, Oriental ceramics, glass art, and cosmetic utensils from all over the world. The core of the collection is Western paintings from the Impressionists, through the École de Paris, to 20th century paintings by Picasso and Kandinsky, etc. In 2017, the Atrium Gallery was opened to exhibit contemporary art.

The collection of 19 works by Claude Monet, who led the Impressionists, at the Pola Museum of Art is particularly impressive, 16 works by Renoir, and 22 works by Picasso, who had a decisive influence on today’s paintings. The eclectic collection is due to the fact that Suzuki Tsuneshi, who built the museum’s collection, was also very interested in the flow of art history and collected many important artists in the history of art that reflected the evolution of tastes and techniques through time. In addition to Monet, Renoir, and Picasso, the museum has a number of  Degas,  Van Goghs, Leonard Fujitas, and Matisse works in its collection.

Architecture of POLA

Hakone is a mountainous region just south of Tokyo famous for hot springs, nature, and elegant ryokan and hotels. An award winning architectural design is hidden in the mountains along with a number of architectural masterpieces in the form of ryokan (historic Japanese inns), hotels, private homes, and museums. One of Hakone’s most intriguing structures is the Pola Art Museum, found tucked into the forested mountains of the highlands of Sengokuhara, Hakone. 


The museum is a refined glass and concrete based structure, striking yet balanced with its natural surroundings.. Surely, this is what the engineers and designers strived for when they planned the construction of a building that embodies “symbiosis between Hakone’s natural beauty and the works of art.” Built by famed Japanese design firm Nikken Sekkei (Futur Camp Nou, Ritz Carlton Kyoto, Tokyo Tower), the building is made up of 2 floors above ground and 3 floors below ground. The museum was constructed on an area cut into the gentle mountain slope and most of the building is hidden from sight, allowing the building to blend into the natural surroundings. 

Constructed in the Fuji Hakone Izu National Park, the surrounding nature and environment welcomes visitors even inside through the large use of glass and natural lighting. Visitors must cross a short bridge to reach the entrance to the building, which is actually on the 5th floor. The airy and well lit entrance guides visitors to the 4th floor for ticketing, then lower to view the art collections. The natural lighting gets softer as you travel deeper into the soft greys of concrete and smoky glass and are welcomed into an area of world class art. 


The exhibition hall was developed over a period of two years and completed in 2002. The grounds of the Pola Museum of Art cover an area of 120,000 sqm, which incorporates some of Hakone`s most pristine forest, the exhibition hall’s floor space covers only 2,000 sqm, divided among the 5 floors (2 above ground, 3 underneath).

The museum holds more than 10,000 works collected by Suzuki Tsuneshi (1930-2000). The collection includes an assortment of western and Japanese artwork, ceramics, and sculptures. The collection of Impressionistic works is one of the largest in Japan. While the main entrance and walkway regions are flooded in natural light, the show rooms and display areas have been designed to protect them from the elements, potential natural disasters, and conservation for future generations. 


Design of the museum also took into account 5 factors of preservation.

  1. Earthquakes are very common in Japan and resistance to damage to the building was negated by building on flexible dampers.
  2. Hakone is located inside a dormant volcanic crater and the danger of toxic gases and fumes is a reality. The collections remain in controlled environments that not only control humidity, but can also filter toxins from the air.
  3. Artwork is kept in airtight cases.
  4. A fire extinguishing system that relies on nitrogen rather than water.
  5. Because the museum is located in a National Park, the design also had to account for the large number of insects in the area. In keeping with the goal of “harmony with nature”, the design uses lighting techniques and entry design to limit the possibility of entry by unwanted guests.


The Pola Museum of Art experience isn’t limited to only the building itself. The art experience stretches out into the surrounding forest and backwoods, where the Pola Museum outside Art Nature Trail lets you enjoy outdoor sculptures in the National Park. A visit to the Pola Museum of Art is an experience for all your aesthetic senses.

Open Time 10:00am to 5:00om
Price Adults ¥1800 Children ¥1000
Address Sengokuhara

Hakone Travel Ideas