Where is Naoshima?
It is renowned for its collection of contemporary art galleries and exhibits.
Naoshima is best known for the Benesse House complex. There has been extensive domestic attention to the Chichu Art Museum completed in 2006. The island itself has been settled as long as there have been Japanese. The original settlement is the now-diminutive fishing port of Tsumuura. The most prominent settlement on the island is Honmura which was established as a coastal castle town (warring states) period (1467-1568). A number of houses in this town have been radically reformed in the Art House Project. Miyanoura - the port at which you will likely alight - is now the passenger and transport hub for the island, yet remains a sleepy coastal town.
The island can be quite hilly but pleasant enough along the coasts for biking and walking, except for the road from Miyanoura to Chichu Art Museum. It is entirely feasible for all sights on this island to be seen in one day but take a note from the locals and enjoy the island as a whole, in your own pace. There are beaches and mountains here, so pack swimming trunks, sunscreen and some good walking shoes if you are so inclined.
Though the island is much closer to Honshu, administratively it belongs to Kagawa Prefecture in Shikoku. It has 3,142 inhabitants.
Weather in Naoshima
1. Benesse Art Site Naoshima
Benesse Art Site Naoshima is the center of Naoshima's creative culture. The Bennesse House, the core of the Art Site, is one of the most unique museums in the world. Designed by legendary architect Tadao Ando, the Benesse House offers visitors have the chance to enjoy the architectural and landscape designs commissioned by talent from around the world, (including works by Cesar, Richard Long, Frank Stella, David Hockney, Andy Warhol, Yves Klein) and further enjoy other facilities including cafes, restaurants, and even a spa. The spring and summer months are ideal times to visit the island and appreciate a focal point of Japanese aesthetic.
2. Chichu Art MuseumWidely considered to be the world's most unique museum for contemporary art, Chichu Art Museum, designed by Tadao Ando and nestled deep underground on the island of Naoshima, is both an intimate environment and a world-class institution. We explore Chichu's collections and investigate what makes this Japanese museum so special.
You can find the work of Claude Monet, Walter de Maria and James Turrell here. It is the most popular attraction on the island so try to make it early, before the crowds settle in. The James Turrell work is certainly best appreciated with as few people around as possible. Tickets must be purchased at the ticket center approximately 50m down the road. The museum offers a special night program on Friday and Saturday to view Turrell's 'Open Sky' work at sunset.
3. Lee Ufan MuseumOpened in time for the 2010 Setouchi Triennale, the Lee Ufan Museum is one of the more recent additions to Naoshima. The museum features productions by the Korean contemporary artist Lee Ufan, who was born in Korea but has been working and teaching in Japan. On display are large installations made of stone, concrete and huge slabs of iron, as well as a number of paintings from earlier in his career.
The museum building was designed by the Japanese architect Ando Tadao, who also designed the other museums on the island, the nearby Benesse House and Chichu Art Museum. Just like his other works on the island, the Lee Ufan Museum building mixes geometrically shaped reinforced concrete with nature and open spaces that accentuate the artwork displayed within.
4. Art House ProjectA small port town on Naoshima's eastern coast called Honmura, is home to the Art House Project, a collection of abandoned houses, workshops, a temple and a shrine that have been converted into art installations and venues for contemporary art by artists and architects from Japan and abroad.
The art houses are scattered throughout town, and most of them are unassuming from the street, blending into the surrounding traditional Japanese neighborhood. The interior of each, however, has been given over to artists to convert into whatever suits their artistic vision. “Kadoya”, a 200 year restored residence with a traditional storehouse, “Go'o Shrine”, an old Shinto shrine that has been restored with a modern makeover, and “Haisha”, a local dentist that has been converted into a gallery for large sculptures, just to name a few.
5. Naoshima Bathhouse "I Love Yu"An art facility created by artist Shinro Ohtake where visitors are actually able to take a bath. "I♥湯" was created to provide both a place for Naoshima residents to rejuvenate and as a venue for exchanges between Japanese and international visitors and locals to take place. The exterior and fittings of the bathhouse, from the bath itself to the pictures decorating the walls, the mosaics, and even the toilet fittings, all reflect the universe of the artist.
The bathhouse is operated by the Town-Naoshima Tourism Association. Go visit and soak in the tub, and experience art with your entire body.
6. 007 "The Man with the Red Tattoo" Museum
A small showroom erected as a museum to feature Raymond Benson's recent Bond novel "The Man with the Red Tattoo". An important part of the story takes place in Benesse House during a G8 summit. The "007 Museum" aims to present Naoshima as a Bond location on a national scale, introduce visitors to the story of "The Man with the Red Tattoo" with a short animated documentary, art work imagined from the novel and exhibits material and memorabilia related to the Bond novels and films. Very little English is available at the museum. It is located where 2 minute on foot from Miyanoura Port. Although it is named as a "museum", the museum itself is not as large as Benesse House nor Chichu Art Museum. It is actually a part of a house right opposite of a fire station, you can easily find it with seven red poles 6 m (20 feet) tall, although some poles have broken currently.