It’s an amazing place! Naoshima, Japan’s Art Island. Can I leave luggage at Uno station? >> Next: Plan Your Trip With AFAR’s Guide to Japan, 7 Reasons Why Grenada is the Perfect—and Out of the Ordinary—Holiday Getaway, California’s New Lockdown: What Travelers Need to Know, Sign up for the Daily Wander newsletter for expert travel inspiration and tips, AFAR’s Gift Guide for Shopping Small Businesses, Subscription Boxes and Membership Gifts That Are Perfect for Travelers, 10 Last-Minute Gifts for the Wine Lovers in Your Life, The 7 Best Global Gifts for Whiskey Lovers. The building, which is built down into the ground, shows Ando at his finest. Twenty years ago, Naoshima was an isolated and sleepy island, but Fukutake saw the island’s natural beauty as a perfect backdrop for art, and art as a salvation for the island’s suffering economy. I would love to return someday and see more art on the neighboring islands, which have joined Naoshima in reinventing themselves as creative havens. Honshu is the largest island and the core of Japan. End a day of art-hopping with an imaginative treat—soy sauce-covered ice cream at the café atÂ, , a soy sauce brewery that was featured on Netflix’s, are the two closest islands to the port of Takamatsu. But even if you miss the Setouchi Triennale this year, the permanent art on these islands—from a subterranean modern art museum to the pop-art installations along the sea—is well worth the 90-minute flight from Tokyo anytime. The art is impressive, too. Among the prefectures of Japan, Okinawa actually has the youngest and fastest-growing population, despite the fact that Okinawa's population is known as one of the oldest in the world. The Setouchi Triennale covers 12 islands and two port cities so there’s a lot of ground to cover. We also visit the Ando Museum, which is in another converted village home. The Art Island of Naoshima in Japan and its Art Venues Benesse House: Sleeping with Contemporary Art. By the time we’re done, I’m completely obsessed with his genius. (It also offers Setouchi Seaplane excursions that allow you to take in the islands from above.). But the most powerful art here is the unseen and the unsnapped. The best place to see contemporary art in Japan: not the modern metropolis of Tokyo but a cluster of rural islands in its inland sea. It is between Honshu and Kyushu. MORE: The enchanting ancient forests of Japan… A group of Japanese artists rejuvenated the island. Japanese billionaire Soichiro Fukutake opened Benesse House Museum in 1992, bringing contemporary architecture and art to abandoned homes and beaches on the island. In addition to finding creative olive-infused things to eat here, it’s also the last place still producing Japan’s 400-year-old traditional wood-barreled soy sauce. More... You have successfully subscribed to the blog. It’s inspiring to see art mixing seamlessly with everyday life in the local area. Your email address will not be published. A city grew up around it so dense it inspired the nickname “island … ? The yellow polka-dotted pumpkin on a pier—the creation of the 90-year-old pop-art grandma Yayoi Kusama—is the unofficial symbol for Japan’s contemporary art mecca. Continuing northwest, we come across more outdoor art on the way to the Lee Ufan Museum. And awed we are. Ritsurin Garden in the port city of Takamatsu, Photo by Daisuke Aochi / Naoshima “Red Pumpkin” ©Yayoi Kusama, 2006. As my ferry pulls in, a sunset sky lights up Yayoi Kusama’s ladybug-spotted sculpture and I know my time on this island will be nothing short of magical. Or for a more traditional Japanese experience, head up the hill toÂ, While the colorful ferries aren’t technically considered part of the art exhibits, the views they provide of the island-dotted sea make them one of the most interesting parts of the whole experience. Made in collaboration with the island’s residents, it encourages you to pause and reflect by the shallow pool of glowing numbers. Or for a more traditional Japanese experience, head up the hill to Hanajyuki’s onsen (hot springs) heaven with sweeping views of the city and the sea from the rooftop onsen or from your own private balcony onsen. Photo by Yasushi Ichikawa / Artist © Wang Wen Chih, 2019. Adventures of an expat Californian living in London and traveling the world. Megijima offers a concentrated amount of art to see along its sandy beaches, including a beachfront bonsai art house and a playful collection of “Little Shops on the Island,” featuring ping-pong tables and Laundromat installations. Lee Ufan Museum The medium sized islands with moderate climate are a top priority destination for everyone who visits western Japan. Just east of Teshima and Inujima lies Shodoshima—the second largest island in the Seto Inland Sea—that hosts over 40 artworks during the Triennale. 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