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The Museum of Modern Art, Hayama

The best destination for a Hayama drive

Hayama is a popular driving destination especially for lovers because the road runs is along the glittering sea coast, and there are lots of fashionable gourmet restaurants with fresh fish and local veggies. But there's more! The Museum of Modern Art is the main attraction, together with the driving and the eating.

Hayama is a beautiful seacoast town facing the Pacific Ocean. It's near one of the most famous tourist areas, Kamakura, an area I love. Because of the relatively inconvenient location (you have to take a bus to Hayama from the nearest stations, Zushi Station or Shin-Zushi Station), you don't see many tourists. Most people are here to enjoy the sea. The Museum of Modern Art-Hayama is situated in the best place in Hayama for viewing the Pacific Ocean.

The museum of Modern Art consists of three locations, Kamakura, Kamakura Annex and Hayama. They were the first public art museums in Japan, established in 1951. The building of the Museum in Hayama was completed in 2003. The architecture is very modern. It’s worth visiting just to see this building and to enjoy the beautiful ocean view. On a fine, clear day, you can also see Mt. Fuji over the sea.

Of course, there's more: Seeing the exhibitions! The works on display are changed several times a year. When I visited recently, I saw works by a famous Japanese artist. But there are displays of art from both Japan and from all around the world, from paintings to photographs and craftwork and sculpture. The museum as a whole has a collection of more than 10,000 works.

The museum inside is fairly wide and open, good for browsing and with a cozy atmosphere and warm lights. Because of the location, the museum is not very crowded and I felt relaxed enjoying the exhibits and arts. There is also a corner where you can watch a video about the artists of each featured exhibition. The building also houses the museum library and an auditorium though I’ve never been in them, but want to in the near future. I noticed there are some events such as lectures and talk shows about arts in the auditorium.

Also don’t miss dropping into the museum restaurant and shop! The name of both is ‘Orange Bleue’. When I sat at my table in the restaurant, I was astonished to see such a breathtaking view of the ocean. The menu is also superior to that of most ordinary restaurants. You can order from the mini ‘course menu’, choosing between fish or meat as the main dishes and finishing with dessert.

The museum shop offers items ranging from art catalogs to original goods such as cups and scarves with the motif of the museum’s collections. I also enjoyed leafing through guidebooks of the Hayama and Kamakura area, and art postcards.

Visiting the library, museum shop and restaurant alone is enough, but your day will be all the richer if you come close to and breathe the art in such a beautiful location!

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