Posted in Art, Culture, Events, Travel

The Islands of Japan – Naoshima

Japan is basically a country comprising of islands of various sizes and cultures. Most people have only heard of the four main landmasses: Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu.

But what about the other, smaller islands? We’ve briefly talked about Okunoshima (Bunny Island) in our previous post.

Today’s feature will be on Naoshima (直島).

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Image: The New York Times

Located in the Seto Inland Sea and 13km north of Takamatsu, Naoshima is also known as “Ando Island”, as a large proportion of the art installations were designed by world-renowed architect Ando Tadao and commissioned by Benesse Holdings, Inc. Nearby islands of Inujima and Teshima have also been transformed into “art islands” by the same company.

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Benesse House Oval, a hotel designed by Ando Tadao | https://flic.kr/p/7wXjsF

There are several museums under Benesse Art Site Naoshima, such as Ando Museum and Naoshima Bath “I♥湯”. The former features the life and works of Ando Tadao while the latter is an interesting mix of art and bathhouse designed by Otake Shinro. It’s name is a word-play on I Love You, as the Japanese word for “bath” is pronounced as “yu”. To spice things up, hidden at the bottom of the baths are many Edo period erotic prints.

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Interesting exterior of Naoshima Bath “I♥湯” | https://flic.kr/p/8UsfnH

Others include Chichu Art MuseumLee Ufan MuseumArt House ProjectBenesse House Museum and Miyanoura Gallery 6.

A 200-year-old house infused with modern LED light display, the Kadoya House from Art House project is a blend of the past and future.

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Flickering lights over a pool of water in the Kadoya House | http://thisjapaneselife.org/2013/06/26/naoshima-japan/
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Great use of natural light by Ando, inside the Benesse House Museum | https://flic.kr/p/6xrZ56

Interestingly, the residents of Naoshima were so enamored by James Bond that they dedicated the 007 Museum to the man himself, featuring memorabilia from “The Man with the Red Tattoo” and other Bond novels.

Exhibit in the 007 Museum | http://zoomingjapan.com/travel/naoshima-art-island/

Apart from museums, there are also countless Instagram-worthy open-air art installations around the island.

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One of Kusama Yayoi’s famous pumpkin sculptures | http://www.clevernettle.com/rachabees/2013/01/art-desu-naoshima/
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George Rickey’s “Three Squares Vertical Diagonal” | https://flic.kr/p/bEcNzt
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Just chillin’ on some fancy rocks yo | https://flic.kr/p/9gDQB3

Held once every three years around the 12 islands of the Seto Inland Sea and two ports, the Setouchi Triennale aims to promote and develop these islands through a wide range of activities as part of Art Setouchi.

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A beautiful view of the Seto Inland Sea | https://flic.kr/p/56VK9U

Want to know more?

That’s all for Naoshima, folks!

We will attempt to bring light to more unique islands in the near future, so stay tuned!

2 thoughts on “The Islands of Japan – Naoshima

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