Art Asia Contemporary Art Experiences Japan Modern Art Naoshima Teshima Travel

The Art Islands of Japan

The Art Islands of Japan

The Art Islands of Japan are situated within the Seto Inland Sea and quick turning into an artwork vacation spot.  Recognized for its modern artwork and museums, there are a number of artworks to take pleasure in together with Yayoi Kusama’s iconic pumpkin sculptures, work and installations by Claude Monet, James Turrell, and Walter De Maria, in addition to buildings by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Tadao Ando.


The Benesse Company oversees the island’s artwork museums, installations and sculptures on these islands.  The truth is the Benesse Prize was established on the Venice Biennale, the place winners have been commissioned to create paintings for Benesse on the islands of Naoshima, Teshima and Inujima.


The foremost artwork island is Naoshima (直島) with the Lee Ufan Museum, Chichu Museum, the Benesse Home, and the various trendy artwork galleries which are inside conventional Japanese houses, referred to as the Art Home Venture close to the Honmura Port.  This small island is an artwork mecca and guests from around the globe are coming to see the magnificent artwork, uncommon structure.  The artwork and structure with the pure panorama complement one another.  Relying on the time of day, your artwork expertise might be dramatically totally different with the modifications of mild, sound and area.


We requested guests what one phrase stood out for them from their artwork experiences on these islands they usually shared surprising, surreal, whimsical, transcendental and spectacular.


Whereas on the Chichu Museum, we entered James Turrell’s Open Subject and Open Sky installations and located them thoughts altering, main us right into a contemplation of area and time.

The huge open room showcases Claude Monet’s giant canvas of pink lilies surrounded by hundreds of tiny white tiles.  The architectural area modifications the best way you see the artwork with a  giant skylight that brightens the quiet room.

On the Minamidera close to Honmura the place the constructing was designed by Tadao Ando to deal with James Turrell Again Aspect of the Moon one of probably the most fascinating sensorial artwork experiences.  A restricted quantity of individuals are allowed into this exhibit, so make sure to get your ticket as quickly as you arrive to Honmura otherwise you may need to attend an hour or two.  You’ll be full of marvel throughout 15 minutes of a complete black out that emerges into shocking photographs as your eyes modify to the darkness.


Yayoi Kusama’s pumpkins are some of the primary points of interest on Naoshima – the yellow pumpkin is situated close to Benesse Home, and the purple pumpkin is on the Miyanoura Port.


NOTE:  The following info is shared by Benesse Home.  Be sure you verify their web site to verify opening days and hours (some holidays museums are closed).


Naoshima Tub:  That is an artwork facility created by artist Shinro Ohtake the place guests are literally capable of take a shower. “I♥︎湯” was created to offer each a spot for Naoshima residents to rejuvenate and as a venue for exchanges between Japanese and worldwide guests and locals to happen. The exterior and fittings of the bathhouse, from the bathtub itself to the photographs adorning the partitions, the mosaics, and even the bathroom fittings, all mirror the universe of the artist.  The bathhouse is operated by the City-Naoshima Tourism Affiliation. Come go to and soak within the tub, and expertise artwork together with your complete physique.


Benesse Home:  Benesse Home Museum opened in 1992 as a facility integrating a museum with a lodge, based mostly on the idea of “coexistence of nature, art and architecture.” Designed by Tadao Ando, the power is constructed on excessive floor overlooking the Seto Inland Sea and options giant apertures that serve to open up the inside to the luxurious pure environment.


Along with exhibiting the portray, sculpture, images, and installations in its assortment, the Museum additionally incorporates everlasting site-specific installations that artists have created particularly for the constructing, choosing places on their very own and designing the works for these areas. The Museum’s artworks are discovered not simply inside its galleries, however in all elements of the constructing, in addition to in scattered places alongside the seashore that borders the complicated and within the close by forest. Benesse Home Museum is actually a uncommon website the place nature, artwork, and structure come collectively, in an surroundings containing quite a few site-specific works created for the pure environs of Naoshima or impressed by the architectural areas they inhabit.


Chichu Art Museum, 3449-1 Naoshima, Kagawa; +81 87 892 3755; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (final entry 5 p.m.), closed Mondays; ¥2,zero60 ($20); free for youngsters 15 and underneath; annual membership ¥10,300 ($100); no pictures allowed

Chichu Art Museum was constructed in 2004 as a website rethinking the connection between nature and other people. The museum was constructed principally underground to keep away from affecting the gorgeous pure surroundings of the Seto Inland sea. Artworks by Claude Monet, James Turrell, and Walter De Maria are on everlasting show on this constructing designed by Tadao Ando. Regardless of being primarily subterranean, the museum allows an abundance of pure mild that modifications the looks of the artworks and the atmosphere of the area itself with the passage of time, all through the day and all alongside the 4 seasons of the yr.

Taking type because the artists and architect bounced concepts off one another, the museum in its entirety could be seen as a really giant site-specific paintings.

Lee Ufan Museum, 1390 Azakuraura, Naoshima, Kagawa; +81 87 892 3754; closed Mondays; ¥1,030 ($10); free for youngsters 15 and underneath; annual membership ¥5,100 ($50); no pictures allowed

A museum ensuing from the collaboration between internationally acclaimed artist Lee Ufan, presently based mostly primarily in Europe, and architect Tadao Ando.

The Ando-designed semi-underground construction homes work and sculptures by Lee spanning a interval from the 1970s to the current day. Lee’s works resonate with Ando’s structure, giving guests an impression of each stillness and dynamism. Situated in a mild valley surrounded by hills and the ocean, the museum gives a tranquil area the place nature, structure and artwork are available resonance with one another, inviting to peaceable and quiet contemplation, in a society overflowing with materials items.

NAOSHIMA ISLAND – Close to Honmura Port

Ando Museum:  A Tadao Ando-designed inside area, framed by unadorned concrete partitions, infuses new life on this about 100-year-old conventional picket home in Honmura. Right here, contrasting parts of previous/current, wooden/concrete, mild/shadow overlap on this area which condenses the essence of Tadao Ando’s structure. Study Ando’s work and Naoshima historical past by means of pictures, sketches, and fashions, and see how the museum itself has revived this venerable previous home.

Art Home Challenge in Honmura (six artwork homes):  The Art Home Venture is an artwork venture underway in Naoshima’s Honmura district. It started in 1998 with Kadoya, and at present includes seven places: Kadoya, Minamidera, Kinza, Go’o Shrine, Ishibashi, Gokaisho, and Haisha. On this challenge, artists take empty homes scattered about residential areas and switch the areas themselves into works of artwork, weaving in historical past and reminiscences of the interval when the buildings have been lived in and used. Going from one of the homes to a different, guests move by means of the Honmura district, the place on a regular basis life unfolds round them, within the course of not solely partaking with works of artwork, but in addition sensing the layers of time and historical past interwoven locally and the material of native individuals’s lives. A notable function of the Art Home Undertaking is that as a result of viewing it means traversing a zone of every day life, it acts as a catalyst for interplay between guests and native residents, giving rise to many a memorable episode. A very natural challenge that modifications day-to-day, it has advanced to current a brand new mannequin of group, characterised by constructive interplay between city and rural, younger and previous, resident and customer.



Teshima Art Museum:  Uniting the artistic visions of artist Rei Naito and architect Ryue Nishizawa, Teshima Art Museum stands on a hill on the island of Teshima overlooking the Seto Inland Sea. The museum, which resembles a water droplet in the intervening time of touchdown, is situated within the nook of a rice terrace that was restored in collaboration with native residents.

Structurally, the constructing consists of a concrete shell, devoid of pillars, masking an area 40 by 60 meters and with a most peak of four.5 meters. Two oval openings within the shell permit wind, sounds, and lightweight of the world outdoors into this natural area the place nature and structure intimately interconnect. Within the inside area, water constantly springs from the bottom in a day lengthy movement. This setting, through which nature, artwork and structure come along with such limitless concord, conjures an infinite array of impressions with the passage of seasons and the movement of time.

The place to Keep? 

We stayed on the Benesse Home Museum which is a mixed lodge and museum the place modern artwork is displayed.


There are a number of totally different buildings the place you’ll be able to keep, together with the Benesse Home Oval, Park, Seashore and Museum buildings).  Every constructing has totally different artwork collections and it’s such as you’re sleeping in a contemporary artwork gallery.

Good to notice:  we discovered staying at Benesse Home very useful with our transportation and schedule planning.  Additionally, Benesse Home gives a free shuttle bus to the Lee Ufan Museum, Chichu Art Museum, and runs friends between the Honmura Port and Miyanoura Port.

Different choices — when you don’t need to keep at Benesse Home, friends can discover lodging at small inns and a few islanders supply visitors lodging of their houses.  Additionally there are island shuttle buses with Yayoi’s pumpkin design that take guests across the island.

Learn how to Get There?

We took the Shinkansen JR “bullet train” from Tokyo to the Okayama Station.  The Japan Information notes that Tokyo and Okayama are two main stations alongside the JR Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen. The a method journey prices round 17,000 yen and takes roughly three.5 hours by Nozomi practice or four hours by Hikari practice. The journey is absolutely coated by the Japan Rail Move, if finished by Hikari, however it isn’t coated if completed by Nozomi.

From Okayama, we took the regional practice from Chayamachi to Uno.  From Uno Port, take the ferry to Naoshima.

You possibly can arrive to the Miyanoura or Honmura Port.


You’ll want to examine practice, ferry and shuttle bus schedules to keep away from lengthy delays and features.


Written & Edited by: Patricia Stone & Julie Biniasz

Art Path:  Kathy McQuaid