Friday, July 22, 2016

Shikoku Autumn 2014 四国秋季之旅 - Naoshima 直島

Visited 14.11.2014 (Fri)

Seto Inland Sea (or Seto Naikai 瀬戸内海) refers to the water way between the main Honshu island and Shikoku. There are numerous islands sprouting out in Seto Inland Sea and islands within Kagawa Prefecture include Naoshima (直島), Shodoshima (小豆島), Teshima (豊島), Inujima (犬島) and Ogijima (男木島). For my trip to Shikoku, I managed to visit both Naoshima and Shodoshima over two days.

Island of art. Setouchi Triennale is an international art festival held every 3 years; where artists from all over the world come together to showcase their exclusive creations, utilising the 12 islands in the Seto Inland Sea as the stage for their artworks. Island hopping becomes a ritual during the art festival period, attracting more than a million visitors in 2016 when the most recent Setouchi Triennale was held. In Naoshima, you can see, breathe and touch art everywhere you go. As soon as we alighted from the fastcraft, with a detailed map in hand, we set off on an art expedition to visit all three major sites in Naoshima.

Naoshima-cho website:
Setouchi Triennale:



Naoshima can be divided into three main areas - Honmura, Miyanoura and Benesse Art Site.

(1) Honmura 本村

About 30 minutes by foot or 5 minutes drive away by car/bus from Miyanoura Port, this district is where Art House Project is featured. If you are utilising Naoshima town bus, please alight at Nokyo mae (農協前) to access Honmura area.

Art House Project 家プロジェクト
Operating hours: 1000 - 1630 hrs; closed on Mondays
Admission fee: 410 yen/house, or set ticket of 1,030 yen to visit all six houses.

This project converted and restored old, abandoned houses into contemporary art exhibition venues. This concept was initiated in 1998 and completed in 2006. Currently, there are six houses participating in this project. For my trip, I visited Benesse Art Museum (where the entrance fee is also quite costly at 1,030 yen) instead and decided to gave this a miss unfortunately. One feature to look out for in Naoshima is the numerous beautiful "noren" or curtain hung at the entrance of many houses in both Honmura and Miyanoura area. Initiated as Naoshima "Noren" Project, the garments were created by textile artist, Yoko Kano, who created each curtain based on the origin of the house and store, inspiration she received from the owner of these houses and conversation with the locals.

Ando Musuem 安藤ミュージアム
Operating hours: 1000 - 1600 hrs; closed on Mondays
Admission fee = 510 yen

The museum is housed in a hundred years old traditional wooden house refurbished by famous Japanese architect Tadao Ando. Here you can learn about Tadao Ando's work and Naoshima history through photographs, sketches and models. This is another attraction which I decided to give it a miss as well.

More sights of Honmura area...


(2) Miyanoura 宮浦

As the name suggests, this is where most people will land on if they are traveling to Naoshima by ferry from Takamatsu. Marine Station is the ferry terminal for Naoshima and houses a tourist information center where useful walking maps and brochures can be collected from. The bus stop to board Naoshima Town Bus, if you are heading to Honmura area and Benesse Art Site, is just beside Marine Station as well.

Naoshima Bath I Love Yu 直島銭湯「I ♥ 湯」
Operating hours: 1300 - 2100 hrs (on weekdays); closed on Mondays.
Bathing fee: 510 yen

I have already seen photos of this building in many travel guide books and decided to detour to see this mind blowing architecture in person just before I head back to Miyanoura Port. The building reminded me of a scrapbook instantaneously; when extremely different components are put together, a harmonious piece of art work is created miraculously. Such a stunning outcome!

Designed by contemporary artist Shinro Ohtake, I have to compliment this public bathhouse is unusually beautiful and alluring. From the photos featured on the webpage, the same universal theme is also extended to its interior as well; wished I could have entered the bathhouse back then!

More sights of Miyanoura area...


(3) Benesse Art Site ベネッセハウスサイト

If you are utilising Naoshima town bus, please alight at the last stop, Tsutsuji-so (つつじ荘). From here, you can hop onto a free shuttle bus which operates between Tsutsuji-so and Chichu Art Museum, making a brief stop at Benesse House Museum and Lee Ufan Museum.


How to get around? 

(1) By Naoshima town bus 直島町営バス.
Apart from rental bicycles, the most convenient way to get around the island is by their town bus. The place to board this town bus is located just beside the Marine Station.
Fare per trip: 100 yen
Bus schedule (English):
Bus schedule (Japanese):


How to get there?

There are two ports in Naoshima - Miyanoura Port (宮浦港) and Honmura Port (本村港). Ferry allows bicycle and cars to be on board, whereas fastcrafts/passenger boats do not.

Took the fastcraft from Takamatsu Port to Naoshima.

Miyanoura Port - Marine Station.
(1) From Shikoku 
Ferry and fastcrafts are operated between Takamatsu Port and Miyanoura Port. Do take note that the boarding area for ferry and fastcrafts are different at Miyanoura Port.
- Fastcraft: There are about 3 trips/day, journey takes about 30 mins. Fare = 1,220 yen (one way)
- Ferry: There are about 5 trips/day, journey takes about an hour. Fare = 520 yen (one way) and 990 yen (round trip)

Admiring the sunset at fastcraft boarding area.
(2) From Okayama 
Ferry and passenger boats are operated between Uno Port and Miyanoura Port.
For ferry, there are about 13 trips/day. For passenger boats, there are about 2 to 3 trips/day.
Journey takes about 20 mins. Fare = 290 yen (one way) and 560 yen (round trip).

Passenger boats are operated between Uno Port and Honmura Port.
There are about 5 trips/day, journey takes about 20 mins. Fare = 290 yen (one way) and 560 yen (round trip).

Video: An excellent promotional video on Naoshima produced by Japan Tourism Agency.

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