Photo: Okada Museum of Art

Japanese museum creates beautiful artisan chocolates fusing traditional art and sweets

By Jen Santelices, grape Japan

The Okada Museum of Art in Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture, was only opened in 2013, however, despite its short history, this private museum displays a wide range of artworks from Japan, China and Korea that include both modern and ancient art pieces.

When you’re done taking a look at their art collection, the museum also lets you take a sip of coffee while relaxing at a footbath (since Hakone is a popular hot spring destination in Japan), and browse their shop where you can find different gourmet chocolates themed around traditional Japanese paintings.

The chocolates were made by Japanese chocolatier Naoki Miura, and they come in two sets of four squares that form some of the most famous images in Japanese art. One of the chocolate (photo above) sets aptly named, “Waves/Fuji”, depicts two of the most iconic prints from Hokusai’s “Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji.” Each of the chocolate squares also have different flavors mixed in, such as coconut, orange, and maple sugar.

The next box set of chocolates, called “Wind/Time”, features two traditional Shinto gods, Fujin and Raijin, as depicted by Japanese artist Kotaro Fukui. Fujin (left), the god of wind, and Raijin (right), the god of lightning, are often seen together in murals or statues in temples all across Japan. These chocolates also vary in flavors, from simpler ones such as vanilla or raspberry, to more unusual ones like tomato and gorgonzola cheese.

Photo: Okada Museum of Art

Kitagawa Utamaro is a Japanese painter from the 18th century known for his bijin-ga 美人画 artwork, and his work is featured in the next set of box chocolates. Bijin-ga directly translates to “beautiful person picture”, and are prints that depict Japanese women during the 17th to 19th century. Some of the chocolates’ flavors include cinnamon, apricot, and Japanese chestnuts.

Photo: Okada Museum of Art

There are also smaller sets of chocolates that come in fives, which also features artwork from different Japanese painters. The first one takes parts from Ito Jakuchu’s colorful Peacock and Phoenix painting. Jakuchu was an artist from Japan’s mid-Edo period (from the 1700s to 1800s), and he often painted birds and other elements from nature.

The chocolates with blue irises are inspired by a folding screen painting done by Kamisaka Sekka. Sekka was prominent during the 19th century, and he also often painted scenes from nature or everyday life in Japan.

Lastly, the white chrysanthemums on a bright yellow background are from a painting by Ogata Korin, simply named “Chrysanthemums”. Korin is best known for his paintings on folding screens, however, he also painted on ceramics and lacquerware.

Photo: Okada Museum of Art

Two of the chocolate box sets (“Wind/Time” and “Fukugawa in the Snow”) and all of the five-piece chocolate sets can be bought if you visit the official museum shop now, however, “Waves/Fuji” will only be available from April 5, 2020 onwards. The chocolate box sets are priced at 4,800 yen each, and the five-piece sets are priced at 2,800 yen each.

Okada Museum of Art is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the entrance fee for adults is 2,800 yen and 1,800 yen for children. However, if you just plan on buying the chocolates, the museum shop is also open under the same hours and you can enter for free.

You can find more info on the museum and the shop through their English website.

Read more stories from grape Japan.

-- Nara’s ‘Nature’ Doughnuts and Sanrio Create Adorable Cinnamoroll Doughnuts for White Day

-- 2020 Sakura Viewing: Best Bento Ideas for Hanami in Japan

-- Japan Sakura Hanami Guide: Best Cherry Blossom Viewing Spots in Fukuoka

© grape Japan

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