NAOSHIMA ISLAND

 

WEBSITE: WWW.BENESSE-ARTISITE.JP
LOCATION: SOUTH JAPAN, 761-3110, KAGAWA DISTRICT
NEAREST AIRPORTS: TAKAMATSU AIRPOT OR NARITA TOKYO AIRPORT, 5hours BULLET TRAIN

 

Japan-Map
A serene and glorious  fortification of art, nature, and architecture. A tribute to the human spirit and a testament to what carefully considered and executed creativity can do. It shouldn’t be a question if to go to Naoshima, but when: as soon as possible.

The Benesse Company established the island and used art and art tourism, along with Japanese architect Tadao Ando, to regenerate the area. The main island has three large pavilions designed to nestle into the natural scenery and be encircled by the sea. Since its inception in the 80s, two further islands (Teshima, population: 920, and Inujima, population: 47) have joined the grouping.

Expect to see chapel-like pavilions with Monet waterlilies and James Turrell installations,  Kusama pumpkins on beaches, traditional Japanese wooden houses converted into art projects showcasing younger and local artists, an art onsen (which is fantastically tacky), and more. It is an immersive art experience that dominates the island, and because you need to go via Tokyo, you can enjoy the contrast of these two Japanese cities.

Getting around the island is simple by renting a bike or using the shuttle service. I recommend staying at the Benesse Hotel as you get more access to pavilions as a guest (it is expensive but worth it. Save elsewhere on your trip. There are guest houses around the island if there isn’t availability at the hotel) and the website has suggested itineraries.