Most famous for its collection of contemporary art museums, Naoshima is a small island located in Kagawa Prefecture. With many buildings designed by Tadao Ando, incredible works on display and breathtaking views – it’s the perfect fusion of architecture, art and landscape. For more photos of this lovely island, see an overview of our trip during Silver Week and all my posts on the area.
GETTING THERE & AROUND
Nozomi Shinkansen – 3 hours 20 mins from Tokyo to Okayama at ¥17,340 per adult, one way.
JR Uno Line – around 1 hour via local train from Okayama to Uno for ¥570.
Shikoku Kisen Ferry – 20 minutes from Uno Port to Miyanoura Port for ¥290. Runs 13 times a day.
Note: Naoshima is hilly, so most places are best reached by electric bike! The Miyanoura Port area has coin lockers and rental places (Cafe Ougiya, Little Plum) with bikes around ¥500 a day.
There are three main areas on the island of Naoshima.
Miyanoura – the main port includes outdoor sculptures, restaurants and bars but no major galleries.
Honmura – includes another port, temples, restaurants and the Art House Project.
Benesse House Area – in the south of the island, this is where the major art galleries are located.
Shimacoya – indoor tent camping on tatami in a cute community space in the Honmura area.
Benesse House – incredible boutique hotel within the museum itself, rooms are adorned with art.
Tsutsujiso Lodge – camp in a yurt, trailer or room on the beach in the Benesse House area.
Dormitory in Kowloon – a basic but comfortable hostel close the ferry port in Miyanoura.
Naoshima Accommodation – a full list of guest house options, published by the tourist centre.
Note: Accommodation often books out in advance, especially during Silver and Golden Weeks.
Chi Chu Art Museum – the most incredible museum experience! Designed by Tadao Ando.
Lee Ufan Museum – a tranquil space, partially set underground and surrounded by sculptures.
Benesse House – sprawling museum and hotel, with work displayed both indoors and outdoors.
Yayoi Kusama’s Yellow Pumpkin – playful yellow and black spotted sculpture, an icon of Naoshima.
Art House Project – a collection of 7 abandoned spaces, converted into art experiences.
Ando Museum – documents the architects incredible work around the island of Naoshima.
I Love Yu – local sento (or public bathhouse) which is also an artwork in itself.
Naoshima Noren Project – display of contemporary noren across doorways to preserve local scenery.
Setouchi Triennale – contemporary art festival held three times a year, across 12 islands in the region.
Note: All Naoshima museums are closed on Mondays, so don’t plan a visit then!
Shioya Diner – rock and roll themed diner with a western menu featuring charcoal Cajun chicken.
Cafe Salon Nakaoku – dark and cozy Japanese restaurant hidden in a residential neighborhood.
Cin Na Mon – a curry cafe and bar that can get lively and rather fun at night.
Little Plum – with an outdoor deck, offers set lunch plates and seasonal menus in the evenings.
Chichu Cafe – serving simple sandwiches, overlooking the beautiful Seto Inland Sea.
Cafe Konichiwa – the kind of relaxed place where you can enjoy home style Japanese cooking.
Ishii Shouten – cheap and cheerful udon restaurant, rather popular with locals.
Yamamato Udon – popular udon place, only open for lunches. On our to-do list for next time.
Note: Many restaurants close rather early so plan ahead, it’s a sleepy fishing island after all!
Miyanoura Souvenir Shop – inside the ferry terminal building, offers a wide range of local omiyage.
Benesse House Shops – two gallery stores that offer design items and Yayoi Kusama souvenirs.
Iwata Confectionary – famous for their daily supply of sponge cake roll and honey cake.
Honmura Lounge & Archive – tourist information centre with a wide range of art books.
Teshima – a nearby art island, with it’s own scattering of impressive art museums and cafes.
Inujima – another modern art site, this island is smaller and can be explored entirely on foot.
Okayama – the capital city of Okayama prefecture, home to the famous Korakuen Garden.
Takamatsu – the capital city of Kagawa prefecture and an alternative way to access Naoshima.