About a twenty-minute drive from Mishima station at the head of the Izu Peninsula, the Clematis Garden is an appealing place for a leisurely afternoon or day out. Set in a quiet (and evidently wealthy) residential district in the hills above the town, it's a cluster of art museums, shops and restaurants separated into two zones, the 'Garden Area' and 'Buffet Area', with a handful of attractions in each one.
The main one is the Vangi Sculpture Garden Museum, with plenty of interesting sculpture both indoors and out, and nearby is the Izu Photo Museum, which holds regularly changing photography exhibitions on a wide range of themes. In the other zone there's the Musee Bernard Buffet, dedicated to the paintings of the French artist for whom it's named, and the Yasushi Inoue Literary Museum, which I haven't been to. If you want something different to break up the day, then just down the hill from the Clematis Garden is the free Shizuoka Soccer Museum, with displays of football memorabilia both local and international.
In the Garden Area next to the Vangi Sculpture Garden Museum there's Ristorante Primavera, offering high-class Italian set meals in an elegant setting (with prices to match). More affordable is the nearby Ciao Ciao, with pizzas and pasta dishes which you can follow with fruity gelato. If you want Japanese food then airy, spacious Tessen is just by the Izu Photo Museum, or for something lighter there's the TreeHouse Cafe up in the Buffet Area.
Both the Musee Bernard Buffet and the Izu Photo Museum have well-stocked gift shops with a wide selection of books, cards, prints and other souvenirs. In the Garden Area there's the Biotope Garden flower shop, Boutique Clematis selling stylish ladieswear, bags and accessories, and Nohara Books, which has books (of course), jewellery, gifts, toys and a whole load of other goods.
There are a lot of different features in the garden: Camphor Tree Hill, the White Garden, the Knot Garden, Stairway to Heaven (which actually leads down), and there's also an outdoor teahouse which looks like it serves tea, juice and snacks when it's open. It's planted with a whole range of flowers, different breeds of clematis and other kinds, which bloom seasonally so that there's plenty of colour at any time of year.
Everything is open daily except Wednesday, unless a Wednesday is a National Holiday, in which case Thursday is the closed day. The whole site also closes for several days each year for the New Year Holiday. All the restaurants have different opening times, and the museums have different admission charges, but the same hours: 10:00am until 4:30pm from November to January, until 5:00pm in February, March, September and October, and until 6:00pm from April to August.
If you don't have your own transportation, there's a free shuttle bus from the north exit of Mishima station, running hourly with a break at lunchtime. The shuttle can also take you between the Garden Area and Buffet Area, though the walk between them is only short, and takes in a pleasant nature park with a fun suspension bridge