Many of the art is outside. We continued past the Benesse House Museum to explore more of the artworks on the grounds. In this area you could also take a Japanese bath (communal style) at the quirky Naoshima Bath. Don’t make the mistake we did—before you get lunch, buy your Art House tickets and reserve a slot to visit Minamidera (see below). A group of Japanese artists rejuvenated the island. As for how long to stay, while visiting Naoshima as a day trip is possible, it would be quite rushed – so we typically recommend spending at least one or two nights on the island. However, during holidays (for example, over 3-day weekends), most exhibits remain open on Monday and close on Tuesday instead. Its’ most famous artefact is the yellow pumpkin sitting on the seashore. This Naoshima guide will give you all the information you need for the perfect day trip to Naoshima including how to get there, transport on the island, the best places to visit, and our itinerary. Explore Naoshima holidays and discover the best time and places to visit. "Benesse Art Site Naoshima" is the collective name for all art-related activities conducted by Benesse Holdings, Inc. and Fukutake Foundation on the islands of Naoshima and Teshima in Kagawa Prefecture and on Inujima island in Okayama Prefecture. This page contains affiliate links. Naoshima is famous for its contemporary art museums as well as outdoor contemporary art installations throughout the island. A budget option by the beach at Benesse is to stay in a simple yurt or cottage at Tsutsuji-so. We originally planned to spend a few nights on Naoshima but accommodation options were limited, so we made a day trip from Okayama instead. Traveling to Naoshima is relatively easy. Naoshima is full of modern art museums, sculptures, and weird architecture, it’s a cool escape down the so called “rabbit hole”. Much of the building is underground, and Ando designed it to let in an abundance of natural light that alters the appearance of the artwork it houses throughout the day. There are many art museums and sculptures on the island. The colorful bathhouse was designed by Shinro Ohtake, and a soak here is a truly unique way to immerse yourself in art – and Japanese culture. We left Okayama at 8.24am (on the Marine-Liner 11 for Takamatsu) and arrived at Uno at 9.10am with a brief change at Chayamachi. When Is The Best Time of Year To Visit Japan? Aisunao is one of the few (possibly only) vegetarian-friendly restaurants on the island. At the heart of the island is the incredible Teshima Art Museum, an awe-inspiring structure shaped like a drop of water by architect Ryue Nishizawa and artist Rei Naito. Naoshima’s most unique and coveted accommodation option is Benesse House. Miyanoura is the main port so it makes sense to start there. Benesse House Museum is a 15-minute walk from Chichu with sea views, art installations, and cherry blossoms (in April) to enjoy along the way. Intersperse your visits with a coffee break or lunch at one of the handful of charming cafes run by a mix of locals and transplants from cities like Tokyo and Osaka. We got the set lunch (850 yen/ $8) which is vegan and includes brown rice, vegetables, tofu, and miso soup (made without dashi). It’s larger than the Yellow Pumpkin and you can go inside. Continue from Okayama as above. Details: Open 10am – 4.30pm. Little Plum and TVC in Miyanoura also rent bikes, but electric bikes are more expensive at 1500 yen ($14). Chichu Art Museum. Naoshima now attracts art lovers from around the world. We arrived at Miyanoura port by ferry from Uno and rented e-bikes to explore the island (see above). | As the location of the Benesse Art Site, the island of Naoshima (直島) has become one of the region's biggest tourist attractions, offering a unique opportunity to see some of Japan's best contemporary art in gorgeous natural settings. Please read our disclosure for more info. Your email address will not be published. The Art House Project turns empty houses into art spaces and there are currently seven locations in the village. Copyright © 2020 Boutique Japan Travel Company LLC. You can search for more accommodation on Naoshima here. The sleepy island with just 3000 inhabitants is an unlikely art hub, but since the opening of the Benesse House Museum in the early 90s, art has revitalised the island. Part of Kagawa Prefecture, the island with its Mediterranean atmosphere, sandy beaches and sunny weather, combined with a laid back, rural feel is a relaxing getaway from Japan's large urban areas such as Tokyo and Osaka. Benesse House, 1992/1995, Naoshima, Kagawa (Photo: Mitsuo Matsuoka) Interestingly, a small island full of artistic endeavors – i.e. Naoshima, commonly known as Japan’s art island, is a tiny island in the Seto Inland Sea, and one of our absolute favorite places in Japan. Benesse House guests have access to the convenient hotel shuttle, which does a loop of the island’s main art sites. Cost 1050 yen ($10). This was the original museum on Naoshima and the island’s main hotel, spread across multiple buildings, is located here. Naoshima, a remote island in the Seto Inland Sea, has garnered a reputation as the prime destination for art devotees. The Walter De Maria room uses reflections from a skylight to illuminate a giant sphere on a staircase. Erin • nev-clockNovember 22, 2019 • nev-balloon6. Museum. Contemporary art and architecture mixed with traditional Japanese forms Naoshima. So, the idea of an island built by a billionaire art collector full of polka-dot pumpkins doesn’t really sound out of the question. It’s a 15-minute hilly but scenic bike ride from Miyanoura on a quiet road. Closed Mondays. To get from Hiroshima to Naoshima, take the shinkansen to Okayama which takes about 35 minutes on the Nozomi (not covered by the Japan Rail Pass) or 40 minutes on the Sakura. For example, the Chichu Art Museum (literally, "in the earth") houses a number of site-specific installations by James Turrell, Walter De Maria, and paintings by Claude Monet. We took the inland route and it only took us 10 minutes to cycle to Honmura. Rent a bicycle. If your schedule allows, we highly recommend making a side trip by ferry to one or more of Naoshima’s neighboring art islands. The cafe also looked beautiful, but we didn’t have time to stop. The nearest major city is Okayama (on Honshu), which you’ll need to pass through to reach Naoshima if you are coming from other major cities like Hiroshima or Osaka. Travel consultant Natalie Collar slept soundly in two of the most unusual places to stay during the festival: the swish Benesse House and quirky Tsutsujiso yurts. Cost 1050 yen ($10) for a combo ticket. We left our bikes at the Chichu parking but you could park a little further along at the north gate. From Okayama you need to take the train to Uno which takes 40–60 minutes. We didn’t have to wait to be served, but by the time we left a few minutes later there was a long queue. Overlooking the Seto Inland Sea, Benesse House (which was designed by renowned architect Tadao Ando) doubles as both a museum and boutique art hotel. Honmura is on the other side of the island and ferries there are less frequent. Naoshima, Japan’s Art Island Naoshima is Japan’s art island. The Art Houses are scattered throughout the village, within walking distance of one another. The museum was designed by architect Tadao Ando on high ground overlooking the Seto Inland Sea. We also had a snack in the cafe which has panoramic sea views. The noodle soups do contain dashi (fish stock). There are fantastic views as well as interesting art installations, many of them with a sea theme. Andres founded Boutique Japan to share his passion and enthusiasm for Japan, and over the years he has had the opportunity to help hundreds of wonderful travelers from around the world experience Japan in a truly personal and immersive way. Here’s the one day Naoshima itinerary we followed including tips for what we’d do differently. Naoshima is well worth visiting if you are a modern art fan. The Naoshima (Miyanoura) island was famous for making sea salt and was abandoned after decline of the industry. Below are some of Naoshima’s many highlights. The laid-back island of Teshima is located about thirty minutes by ferry from Naoshima. The island was included in National Geographic’s 19 Places to Indulge Yourself, featuring tips from Boutique Japan founder Andres Zuleta. Continue as above. From Naoshima to the other islands like Teshima, Inujima, and Shodoshima, there are few ferries, so it’s best to check ahead of time. It happens every three years—the last event was in 2019 so the next one won’t take place until 2022. Naoshima’s unique brand of quirkiness is also apparent from the outset — a curvaceous, poker-dotted pumpkin sits at the end of the quay, the first in a series of joyful outdoor sculptures dotted around the island by the superb octogenarian artist, Yayoi Kusama. I recommend it for everyone as it has a characterful setting in a 90-year-old house and serves tasty, healthy meals with a focus on brown rice. See our privacy policy. Non-guests can use the island’s local buses (less frequent but easy to use). Dec 08, 2020 Naoshima Info Notice of temporary suspension for new reservations at Art House Project "Kinza" Nov 26, 2020 Naoshima Info Information of the opening hours on Art House Project and ANDO MUSEUM Nov 10, 2020 Inujima Notice of reopening: Inujima "Art House Project" C Art … Finally, from Uno it’s a short 20-minute journey by ferry to Naoshima’s Miyanoura Port. Haisha, one of the Art House Project venues. By doing this we were first off the ferry and headed straight across the road to Ougiya bike rental (open from 9am – 6pm, 1100 yen/$9 for an e-bike). The total journey time should take around two hours (plus time to travel to Shin-Osaka station from your accommodation in Osaka). We didn’t buy tickets in advance and the earliest tickets we could get were for 11.30am. Sightseeing information of Naoshima We stopped at the Cherry Blossom Labyrinth on the way, but although the blossoms were blooming it wasn’t very labyrinth-like. About 175km southwest of Kyoto, Naoshima (pronounced like “now-she-ma”) is a small island in the Inland Sea between Japan’s main islands of Honshu and Shikoku. Benesse House is the only real hotel on the island and has rooms in various buildings including overlooking the beach and within the museum. You acknowledge that your email will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. On Naoshima island itself, most exhibits are usually closed on Mondays. Aisunao website (use Google Translate). Naoshima Island is located in the Seto Inland Sea (also known as Setouchi) which lies between three of Japan’s main islands, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu. Known for its waterfront pumpkin sculptures, it also has a wealth of other outdoor art and museums mixed in with its old industrial infrastructure and traditional villages. The Setouchi Triennale is a contemporary art festival that takes place on Naoshima and other islands in the Seto Inland Sea. “Ando Island” also features many structures created by award-winning artist, Tadao Ando. Naoshima, commonly known as Japan’s art island, is a tiny island in the Seto Inland Sea, and one of our absolute favorite places in Japan. Once on Inujima, you can simply get around on foot. We liked the idea of being able to self-cater as many restaurants close in the evenings and we thought we’d struggle to find vegetarian options. The Naoshima (Miyanoura) island was famous for making sea salt and was abandoned after decline of the industry. The ‘art island’ of Naoshima on the Seto Inland Sea is a must-visit for art lovers, particularly during the Setouchi Art Triennale. I considered staying at Episode 1 which has small apartments with kitchens and free bike rentals. More on getting to Naoshima, and the Uno-Naoshima ferry schedule. It’s a happy experience, and everybody knows that describing happiness is never easy. Since then more art museums have opened and sculptures appeared across the island including Yayoi Kusama’s iconic yellow pumpkin (known as the Naoshima pumpkin). Located in the Seto Island Sea, south of Okayama, Naoshima is popularly known as “an art island.” Its transportation system is well equipped for tourism, and its 20 plus art exhibits and museums take a full day, or more, to fully appreciate. They encourage you to book tickets online in advance as it’s so popular. See our guide to the best things to do in Okayama, Japan. Naoshima is also bicycle friendly (we recommend renting an electric bicycle to navigate the island’s hills). I also tried some delicious peach sake from Okayama. Benesse House guests have special early-morning and late-night access to the museum, and the hotel also has a spa, two restaurants (Japanese and French), and a very convenient shuttle to Naoshima’s art sites. Naoshima is an art island and known for its art museums. On a beautiful early spring day, I took a 20 minutes ferry ride from Uno port to Naoshima in Setouchi inlet. It’s more important to get to the art museums before they start getting too busy. Where possible, advance rental is advisable. Check out these Kyoto day trips instead. If you have a longer stay on the island, you could also visit one of the neighbouring art islands such as Teshima and Inujima which can be reached by ferry from Naoshima. We were feeling tired and didn’t want to wait two hours, so we skipped it. Getting from Kyoto to Naoshima takes at least 2.5 hours and would be a long day trip. To get from Osaka to Naoshima, you’ll need to take the shinkansen (bullet train) from Shin-Osaka station to Okayama which takes about 45–50 minutes. You can also contact us at +1-619-272-6978 or travel [at] boutiquejapan [dot com]. I’ve also included accommodation options in case you decide to spend longer on the island. On most Friday and Saturday evenings, the museum also hosts the Open Sky Night Program, a special sunset viewing of James Turrell’s “Open Sky.”. In addition to its tiny traditional fishing villages, Miyanoura and Honmura, you’ll find stunning architecture by Tadao Ando, museums, colorful galleries and installations, and charming cafes – all in a laid-back atmosphere amid beautiful scenery. If you’re wondering if there are … It’s a great escape from the busy cities and we had a relaxing day cycling in the sun, enjoying the scenery, and admiring some unique art and architecture. Created in 1994, the Naoshima pumpkin has become an iconic symbol of the island, attracting many art appreciators. Apart from Benesse House, Naoshima is home primarily to budget-oriented accommodations, such as traditional minshuku (Japanese guesthouses), as well as yurts. ... Vesteralen Island , 1990 / Naoshima / Benesse House Museum Outdoor Works Pine Trees , 2001 / Naoshima / Benesse House Park World Trade Center , 1997 / Naoshima / Benesse House Park. This is very easy (even if you only have a 3-minute connection like us) as you just cross the platform. In 2017 on the advice of many artsy friends, we traveled from Tokyo to Naoshima in the Seto Sea. Naoshima is the main island of a township made up of twenty-seven islands administered by Kagawa Prefecture. We live and breathe Japan, and want you to experience the Japan we know and love. Please read our, You can search for more accommodation on Naoshima here, dos and don’ts of planning a trip to Japan, 10 Wonderful Things to Do in Okayama, Japan. Okayama isn’t a popular tourist destination in Japan, but we found it a useful base for taking day trips, including to Naoshima. Enjoy your visit to Naoshima and Benesse Art Site, and make sure to also see our post on Japan’s best art destinations! None of them are far apart and visits don’t take very long as they usually consist of one or two rooms. Instagram-worthy places – is the one that is stubbornly against being exposed on Instagram. Part of Kagawa prefecture, the island has warm weather and sandy beaches and an astonishing array of art experiences. It started in the late 1980s when billionaire … On a beautiful island of Naoshima, art sites are scattered, designed to dissolve into the surrounding environment. Travel Journal. Another nearby art gallery we could have visited is the Lee Ufan Museum (open 10am–6pm, 1050 yen/ $10), but we decided to skip it as it seemed a lot to cover in one day (and the entry costs add up). And it is a destination for all modern art lovers. Time and energy permitting, a fitting way to end the day is with a soak at Naoshima’s kitschy and wonderful Naoshima sento (bathhouse), “I♥YU” (yu means hot water, or bath, in Japanese). Use the excellent Hyperdia website or app to check train times and prices. You used to be able to reserve a bath here. We dropped off our bikes and went to look at the Red Pumpkin by Yayoi Kusama. Naoshima is an internationally recognized island for its unique role in showcasing artwork throughout the island and an advocate in sustainability by implementing a “zero-emission” initiative. There are also a number of minshuku (Japanese guesthouses) around the island. There are two ferry ports on Naoshima. There aren’t many direct trains so you may have to change at Chayamachi. The Art Island, Naoshima. Reaching them requires some extra effort, although during the Setouchi Triennale inter-island ferry frequency is increased. Honmura is a cute village of wooden buildings and narrow lanes with some cool looking cafes. You can then proceed from Okayama as described above. It took us about 15 minutes to cycle back from Honmura to Miyanoura Port. We loved cycling around the relaxed island and combining art with beautiful sea views and tiny fishing villages. Yayoi Kusama’s Red Pumpkin sculpture is at the port, but I recommend waiting to get a closer look until the end of the day. If you buy onsite you are still buying an e-ticket which needs to be exchanged for another ticket no more than 10 minutes before your allocated time. The Monet Room features surprisingly traditional art—huge paintings from the Water Lillies series lit with natural light. Before planning your trip, make sure to consult the Benesse Art Site Calendar. On the neighboring art islands of Teshima and Inujima, most exhibits are usually closed on Tuesdays. T. Tickets cost 300 yen ($3) and are sold at the boarding pier at the ticket office or vending machines. Opt-out at any time (an unsubscribe link is at the bottom of every email). Contemporary architecture and art inhabit it, but it still feels like an authentic traditional Japanese Island. There’s also a beach and other fun sculptures in the area. You can also buy tickets at Benesse House and other locations. Read about the seasons and when to visit Japan. Sculptures, installations and modern art galleries are everywhere. While they are often considered the main draw, the island is also home to an abundance of architectural creations that are worthy of a visit in themselves. It has become the symbol of Naoshima. We ended up visiting four of the art houses. The Teshima Art Museum itself is reason alone to visit, but the island is also home to several other highlights, including Christian Boltanski’s “Les Archives du Cœur” and the Teshima Yokoo House. You are given a key for the bike which you pick up in a shed a few minutes walk away. Until the early 1990s, Naoshima was a remote and sleepy island, but — thanks in large part to an art-loving Japanese businessman’s vision — it has gradually become one of the world’s most unique destinations for art lovers and travelers seeking one-of-a-kind experiences. Personally, I think Naoshima is a bit too far for a day trip and you’d be better off spending the night on the island or visiting from Okayama or Hiroshima. A place unlike any other, Naoshima has a unique atmosphere. The most famous is the Yellow Pumpkin sculpture by Yayoi Kusama which sits on the end of the pier. The ferry is across the road from the station—just follow the crowd. By clicking the Submit button, you give consent for us to store your information for the purposes of displaying your comment and you accept the terms of our Privacy Policy. Renting bikes is a better way to explore the island. This little-visited art island is home to the Seirensho Art Museum, its very own “Art House Project,” and the Seaside Inujima Gallery. Benesse Art Site provides the most up-to-date information on works, schedules, and getting to and around Teshima. A group of Japanese artists rejuvenated the island. Once on Naoshima, getting around is fairly easy: Read more about getting around Naoshima. It’s expensive, though, and books up quickly. For many (myself included), Naoshima’s highlight is Tadao Ando’s stunning Chichu Art Museum. We walked to them all except Haisha which we cycled to on the way back to Miyanoura Port. This page contains affiliate links. Where is Naoshima. The next ferry wasn’t until 4.02pm (with the train to Okayama at 4.45pm arriving at 5.30pm) so we waited in Cafe Ougiya at the ferry terminal and enjoyed an ice-cream. If you’re as obsessed with the details as we are, chances are we will be a good fit. When you are on the ferry, head to the disembarkation area as soon as you start approaching Miyanoura port on Naoshima. Learn how your comment data is processed. I recommend booking tickets for 10.15am (you’ll have until 10.45am to enter) but at popular times you’ll need to book a week or so in advance. We parked on the edge of the village by Minamidera as bike parking is limited and it’s easy to walk everywhere. Naoshima Art Island Introduction. The best way to go for an island tour is to rent a bike or a car to save time. Chichu houses a small but impressive collection of works by artists including Claude Monet, James Turrell, and Walter De Maria. These are usually quite simple with Japanese-style rooms (futons on tatami mats) and shared bathrooms. The story behind the Benesse Art Site Naoshima, to give the project its full name, is intriguing too. Naoshima is a small island in the Seto Inland Sea between Okayama and Kagawa Prefectures. 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