Naoshima (直島): Art Island

Naoshima (直島) is a small fishing island off the southern Japan coast on the Seto Inland Sea, between Honshu and Shikoku, within eyeshot of the city of Takamatsu.

The image shown here is "The Oval," by Japanese architect Tadao Ando. The Oval is among the collection of art museums on Naoshima island, known as the Benesse Art Site. The museums includes hotel rooms for visitors.

Metropolis City Guide notes that "You could hate contemporary art and still love Naoshima. It's a romantic destination in Japan's version of the Mediterranean-a lush island with crescents of coarse sand lapped by the transparent-green Seto Inland Sea. For art fans it's even better. Perched high on a southern cape looking across the water to Shikoku is the Benesse House Naoshima Contemporary Art Museum. Cai Guo-Qiang's Cultural Melting Bath (1998) exemplifies the mood. The interactive installation -- a Jacuzzi surrounded by Chinese limestone boulders set in a seaside forest -- is perfect for watching the sun set behind the distant Seto Ohashi Bridge." As for transportation, "there are no bridges to Naoshima. The journey into art paradise starts with a short ferry ride, a liquid buffer between harried city and island calm. You wind past small islets and through a narrow channel to arrive at a village. A 15-minute bus ride later, you reach the museum complex."

From what I have seen and read, I believe that Naoshima will not disappoint, whether you prefer art or nature. When I have had the chance to visit, I will write a review and an update.

Benesse House Naoshima Contemporary Art Museum. Gotanji, Naoshima-cho, Kagawa-gun, Kagawa Prefecture. Daily 8am-9pm. Tel: 087-892-2030. Adm: Adults ¥1,000, children ¥500 (free for hotel or camp guests). Hotel price: ¥7,600-50,000/person per night. Pao and tents: ¥4,000-4,500. Meals not included. To reach Naoshima, take a shinkansen to Okayama, then a local train to JR Uno station. Or fly to Takamatsu in Shikoku. Ferries run regularly from both towns. See website for transportation information (English and Japanese)

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