Odawara has the contemplative contemporary artist Hiroshi Sugimoto to thank for this architecturally breathtaking art complex. In 2009, Sugimoto established the Odawara Art Foundation “with the aim of conveying the essence of Japanese culture to a wider audience.” Eight years later, in 2017, the foundation unveiled the Enoura Observatory, an exhibition space in the picturesque hills of Odawara’s Kataura district.
Surrounded by citrus trees, set against the Hakone Mountains and overlooking Sagami Bay, the observatory is adjacent to Prefectural Route 740 and was created by Sugimoto – in collaboration with architect Tomoyuki Sakakida – as “a forum for disseminating art and culture both within Japan and to the world.”
Aside from a 100-meter-long art gallery, Enoura Observatory also includes a noh stage, an optical glass stage, a tea ceremony room featuring a stone torii gate entrance, a restored Muromachi period Meigetsu Gate and a strolling garden dotted with centuries-old Buddhist temple lanterns.
The Photo Spot
There are myriad photogenic spots in and around the Enoura Observatory, but one particularly arresting image is created by walking (carefully) out on the top of the 70-meter-long Winter Solstice Observation Tunnel that extends out into thin air and having someone snap a photo of you.
The Essential Info
Address: 362-1 Enoura, Odawara, Kanagawa (free shuttle bus from Nebukawa Station or catch a taxi from Manazura Station)
Open: 10am-1pm, 1:30pm-4:30pm
Tickets: The number of visitors is limited per admission time so tickets must be reserved in advance via the website (¥3,000).