Enoura Observatory to Open this Autumn
Photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto’s long-awaited art complex is due to open this October in Odawara, a coastal city near Tokyo.
The Enoura Observatory, the brainchild of veteran photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto, will be a comprehensive art facility located in the city of Odawara, on the coast southwest of Tokyo, about one hour by train from Shinjuku station in central Tokyo.
The spacious complex will be home to art galleries featuring seasonal displays; a Tensho-an tea ceremony room; an underground chamber; a 100-metre long gallery oriented to frame the sun at dawn; a stage made from a huge slab of stone originally destined for the walls of Edo Castle; a reconstruction of a Meigetsu gate donated by the Nezu Museum in Tokyo; and a garden decorated with various rocks and stones collected from all over Japan by Sugimoto himself.
What to do in Odawara
Odawara initially flourished around the castle of the Hojo clan, who ruled the area during the 15th century. The city further prospered during the 17th to 19th centuries as a post town on the Tokaido Highway, which was the main transport artery that linked Edo (now Tokyo) and Kyoto.
Today, the city’s most famous landmark is Odawara Castle. The Hojo clan resided here during the Sengoku period (warring states period) when they were rulers of the Kanto region of eastern Japan. The castle’s park and surroundings are well-known for their plum blossoms in late winter and cherry blossoms in spring. Visitors to the castle can rent samurai outfits or kimono at Honmaru Hiroba square in front of the castle.
Odawara is also the gateway to the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, famous for its hot springs, natural scenery, and picturesque views of Mt Fuji. It makes the ideal jumping off point for visits to many of the area’s top sights, including the following popular attractions:
Hakone Open Air Museum - colourful and abstract modern art sculptures carefully arranged in the museum’s sprawling grounds with splendid sea and mountain views
Owakudani crater - an active volcanic area full of volcanic wonders such as naturally warm rivers, sulfurous fumes, and onsen-boiled black-shelled eggs
Lake Ashinoko - a caldera lake formed by Mt Hakone’s last eruption 3,000 years ago. Short sightseeing cruises offer picture-perfect views of Mt Fuji on clear days.
Hakone Shrine - an atmospheric forest shrine on the shores of Lake Ashinoko - see the mist-shrouded shrine buildings and eye-catching torii (shrine gates) nestled amongst the trees
Hakone Ropeway - a cable-car route linking Owakudani and the shores of Lake Ashinoko, offering fascinating bird’s eye views of both