Model Course Vol.02
Located in the Seto Inland Sea, Naoshima is a paradise for art lovers. World-class museums designed by Japan’s legendary architect Tadao Ando and artworks by many famous artists are dispersed all over the island. One of the main venues of the acclaimed Setouchi Triennale Art Festival, Naoshima is an art sanctuary enveloped by the grandeur of Nature. Escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and spend a day exploring artworks in the awe-inspiring setting of ocean, mountains and architectural marvels. The serenity of the island and synergy of art and architecture will free your mind and soul!
The Setouchi Triennale, 2016 is expected to be overcrowded and it might take longer than usual to visit each facility. At the entrance of each facility a time coded ticket is issued and depending on the situation it might not be easy to enter all the art facilities.
General Transportation Information
Naoshima has 2 ports: Miyanoura and Honmura port
a) From Takamatsu ferry terminal to Miyanoura port: 1 hour (520 yen), 25 mins (1220 yen for high speed ferry)
b) From Uno station to Miyanoura or Honmura port: 20 mins (290 yen)
Around the island
a) Naoshima town bus: 1 or 2 buses run per hour from Miyanoura port via Honmura to the Tsutsuji-so bus stop (100 yen per trip)
b) Benesse Art Site Naoshima’s free shuttle bus: to travel in between art facilities (Benesse House Museum, Lee Ufan Museum, Chichu Art Museum)
c) Bicycle: Available from Miyanoura port from 500 yen per day. Electric assisted bicycles are also available from 1500 yen per day. Various rental companies are available, so prices may vary.
Suggested One-day itinerary
a) Take Naoshima town bus from Miyanoura port (10 mins) or Honmura port (4 mins) to Tsutsuji-so bus stop (100 yen per trip)
b) Take Benesse Art Site Naoshima’s free shuttle bus from Tsutsuji-so bus stop to Benesse House museum (3 mins) or walk (700m, 15 mins)
Start your day with a visit to Benesse House Museum, the center of the Art Island. Integrating a museum and a hotel, this complex is designed based on the concept of “coexistence of Nature, art and architecture”. You can get lost in the maze of renowned artists’ artworks that are accentuated by natural lighting from different corners of the museum. Artworks are found everywhere in the building even outside the galleries; along the shore, by the cliffs and in the nearby forest. Many artists have created intriguing site-specific installations which interact closely with the natural environment, like Yayoi Kusama’s iconic “Pumpkin”.
WalkApprox. 10 minutes
A collaboration between Korean contemporary artist Lee Ufan and Tadao Ando, this semi-underground museum showcases Lee’s paintings and sculptures. Nestled in a gentle valley surrounded by hills and the ocean, the museum offers a contemplative space and quiet time for you to reflect on yourself and the natural landscape. Seek peace in the harmony of Nature, art and architecture as you wander through the art installations that resonate with the vast open space. After exploring the exterior of the museum, you can venture into the inner rooms that are filled with the dynamism and stillness of Lee’s artworks.
WalkApprox. 10 minutes
Next, head to Chichu Art museum, a primarily subterranean museum. Depending on the time of your visit, you can enjoy a unique viewing experience as the museum utilizes natural lighting to illuminate the artworks. A white underground space exhibits five paintings from Claude Monet’s “Water Lilies” series. Another space displays a spectacular installation by Walter De Maria. In another space, James Turrell’s artworks create enthralling optical illusions.After visiting three museums, treat yourself to a well-deserved lunch at Chichu Café and panoramic views of the ocean.
WalkApprox. 20 minutes
The Art House Project exhist throughout Honmura district and seven art houses are open to the public. (Kinza, one of the art houses, requires prior booking.) The artists were commissioned to restore and convert the old residential houses into site-specific artworks. You can embark on a treasure hunt to find the artworks that look like ordinary houses in the traditional Japanese neighbourhood. Experience how art is weaved organically into the fabrics of history and memories of the place as you explore thought-provoking art like Gokaisho’s playful minimalism or Go’o Shrine’s underground secret.
Walka few minutes
Tadao Ando revitalized the 100 years-old historical house and redesigned the inner structure while keeping the traditional wooden exterior, producing an interior surrounded by his signature concrete walls. The juxtaposition of tradition and modernity creates an introspective space for visitors to learn about Ando’s architecture and Naoshima’s history. The interplay between natural light and shadows illuminates the area.
WalkApprox. 2 minutes
This museum is dedicated to the novel "The Man with the Red Tattoo" by Raymond Benson. The story is set on Naoshima but it was never made into a movie. The museum aims to raise awareness about Naoshima’s connection to the James Bond’s franchise. Even if you are not a James Bond’s fan, you can still take a short detour to this small but compact museum, as there is no entrance fee. The museum exhibits a variety of James Bond’s paraphernalia especially "You Only Live Twice", the only James Bond movie filmed in Japan.
WalkApprox. 1 minutes
End your artistic explorations at Naoshima Bath “I Love YU”. Designed by Shinro Ohtake, this social space is a combination of a public Japanese bathhouse and art installations. Do not worry if you forget to bring bath essentials as the bathhouse sells goods like towels and toiletries.
WalkApprox. 3 minutes
After rewarding yourself with a relaxing bath and a visual feast of art, walk to the nearby SANAA-designed Marine Station at Miyanoura port and say goodbye to Yayoi Kusama’s “Red Pumpkin”. After spending an inspiring day on Naoshima, you will feel your mind liberated and soul enriched as you board the ferry!
A passionate educator, Wendy has experiences teaching English in Singapore, Japan and around the world on Peace Boat. With a MA in literary studies, she enjoys writing about her travel adventures. Embracing the “carpe diem” spirit, she thinks that life is too short not to eat and travel non-stop!