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If you are a fan of contemporary art, a visit to Naoshima is a must.
A small island in the Seto inland, home to a number of outstanding museums, many of which are designed to harmonize with attractive scenery.
You can visit it on a day trip, but it’s much better to stay a day or two at night, see at a fixed pace, and enjoy the calm and relaxed atmosphere.
Things to see
The central axis of the South Coast Museum District is the Benesse House, designed by award-winning architect Dadao Ando, designed by Andy Warhol, David Hockney, Jean Michel Basquiat and Jasper Jones.
The hotel, shopping, spa, and restaurant are integrated with a large gallery of Jasper Johns and others.
Nearby is the Chichu Museum, designed by Ando, where you can see five paintings by Claude Monet and site-specific installations by James Turrell and Walter di Maria.
In the meantime, there is the Liufan Museum, which is the smallest but memorable work of Korean painter Woofan Lee.
On the other hand, if you want to know more about Ando, there is a museum on Naoshima’s life and work, and Naoshima’s history in a 100-year-old building with a redesigned interior.
It is possible to guess who made the redesign.
An interesting project underway around Honmura on the east coast is a work of art in which empty houses have been restored and walked around, from a completely dark and quiet enclosed space to a shrine renovated to incorporate a basement and a glass staircase.
Miyanoura Main Port on the west coast has several small places you should visit.
Gallery 6 is a small art museum renovated from pachinko parlour, and the 007 Museum sounds like a fun little room full of James Bond souvenirs, complete with parody short films about’JB’ visiting Naoshima.
Finally, you can see a lot of free outdoor art while exploring the island, and it’s worth stopping by to take in the seascape.
And if you want to take a break after a day, Miyanoura has an art-themed public bath that can soothe your sore body.
Travelers on a budget can stay at the Benesse House Hotel.
Here, all rooms are decorated with art, some with walls painted by artists, and all of them have sea views.
For those working on a smaller budget, Miyanoura has a backpacker hostel Domi-Kowloon and a charming old guesthouse called Yado 7.
And to experience a very different kind of stay, you can opt for a Japanese villa, camper or Mongolian yurt at the Tsutsujiso Lodge in the museum area.
How to get around the island
Despite the endless vision, Naoshima is so small that you can walk anywhere.
However, walking can be tiring and time consuming, so you can travel from Miyanoura to Tsutsujiso by taking small buses that cross the island every hour.
There is a free shuttle bus from Tsutsujiso to the museum area.
If you want to go at your own pace, you can rent bikes or scooters at Little Plum (a delicious curry restaurant) and many other places.
How to arrive
There are no airports or heliports, so you will have to take a regular passenger boat from Takamatsu in Unona Shikoku on the mainland.
In addition, ferries connect Naoshima with nearby Teshima, Shodoshima, and Megijima, all of which become venues for the Setouchi Art Triennale held every three years.