Just returned from my inaugural trip to Naoshima - one of the three art islands located in the Seto Inland Sea - right between Shikoku and Hiroshima.
My travel companion on the trip was Laura Polkus, a designer and stylist, visiting Japan from San Francisco. You should follow her on Instagram and Twitter. Not only is she talented, but also HILARIOUS! I wanted to show her a place that might inspire her future design/styling work and Naoshima did not disappoint. From Tadao Ando’s architecture to the amazing site specific artworks - Naoshima was truly awe inspiring.
A return visit is definitely in order to spend more time on Naoshima as well as visit Teshima and Inujima.
For future trip takers here are a few things I learned that will ensure you get to experience the works in all their glory:
Give yourself two days on Naoshima - it can be done in one, but you have to be more focused and less leisurely in your explorations.
When you arrive make reservations to experience the pieces below:
The bar in the Oval at the Benesse House is open to all hotel guests between 9-11pm. Let the front desk know when want to go up and they’ll run the monorail for you.
Lee Ufan Museum was the least inspiring - I’d skip it.
Visit the sento (I <3 湯） by the ferry port - it’s delightful to soak in such a kitch bathhouse.
- Rent a bike! Such a great way to get around the island - buses/shuttles are available too, but the bikes will give you greater flexibility and are adorable.
This is the second area that I’ve visited in Japan that made a destination out of art. I’m very curious about the role art/artists/institutions are playing in the revitalization of rural areas in Japan. And what impact these projects are having for the local communities? Will continue to explore and inquire on future trips.
Access from Tokyo
Shinkansen (Tokyo to Okayama) (3.5 hrs)
To bus/train (Okayama Station to Uno Station) (55 mins)
Ferry (Uno Station to Miyanoura Port) (20 mins)
Where to go next