Naoshima: Art Conspiring With Nature

Full of nature, history and art, the small Naoshima archipelago is known as the jewel of Seto Inland Sea and is a popular destination among holidaymakers and art lovers

  • Naoshima: Art Conspiring With Nature
  • Naoshima: Art Conspiring With Nature
  • Naoshima: Art Conspiring With Nature
  • Naoshima: Art Conspiring With Nature
  • Naoshima: Art Conspiring With Nature
  • Naoshima: Art Conspiring With Nature
  • Naoshima: Art Conspiring With Nature

The Naoshima archipelago consists of 27 small and large islands floating in the Seto Inland Sea, about 3km south of Tamano, in the Okayama Prefecture, of which only five are inhabited. Due to the presence of copper refineries, islands like Naoshima and Inujima used to be heavily polluted by the fumes. After the war, however, afforestation was introduced and has been in force ever since. In particular, the greenery of Kōjin-shima has been revived, and the southern side of Naoshima has been designated part of the Setonaikai National Park.
Benesse Art Site Naoshima is a collective name for the art activities conducted on the islands of Naoshima, Teshima, and Inujima. Furthermore, the Setouchi Art Festival is held once every three years in the archipelago, with hordes gathering from all over the country.
The origin of the Art Site
Benesse Art Site Naoshima was born from the Naoshima International Campsite in 1989, designed by world famous architect Tadao Andō, where people could experience the beauty of the Setouchi area by staying overnight in Mongolian yurts. Then came the opening of Benesse House and the installation of Yayoi Kusama’s Pumpkin, which soon became one of the symbols of Naoshima.
Highlights of Naoshima
The Oval is one of the lodging facilities of Benesse House, designed by Tadao Andō and opened in 1995, with a great number of guests every year. In the meantime, the old houses are being transformed into works of art. Tadao Andō also developed the Chichū Art Museum, using a century-old private residence. The museum opened in 2004, with photographs, sketches and miniatures documenting Andō’s activity on Naoshima, as well as the history of the island.
Highlights of Teshima
On the island, in a corner of a 9-hectare hilly area terraced with 270 rice paddies overlooking the Seto Inland Sea, stands the Teshima Art Museum, which combines art and the beautiful natural scenery. Since the island is quite small, it is very easy to tour by bicycle or moped which you can rent. The Teshima Yokoo House showcases the works of one of the most representative contemporary artists, the famed graphic designer Tadanori Yokoo, with life and death as a recurring theme. The most distinctive feature of the building is the red glass of the windows that filters and modulates the light and colour of the interiors, allowing the artworks to acquire a shifting range of appearances and giving visitors the illusion of walking through a three-dimensional collage. There is no better way to end the tour than with a bite or a drink at the gourmet snack bar in the elegant set-up of a renovated private house.
Highlights of Inujima
Regardless of its small extension (0.54m²), Inujima is full of natural charm and cultural facilities. The Inujima Seirensho Art Museum is located on the site of a former copper refinery, where you can enjoy the atmosphere of ancient ruins. In 2007, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry designated the Inujima refinery as one of Japan’s Industrial Modernisation Heritage sites, in recognition for the pivotal role it played in the industrial development of Japan. When you are finished with culture, you can enjoy the nature strolling leisurely or relaxing on the sandy beach of the Inujima Seaside Resort.

Author : The Slowear Journal


Japan  | Naoshima  | Benesse  | Tadao Ando  | nature  | art  | Yayoi Kusama  |

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