Naoshima

Seto Inland Sea’s artistic island

Naoshima is a small Japanese island located in the Inland Seto Sea and belonging to Shikoku's Kagawa prefecture. It is world-widely known for its Modern Art museums, the architecture of some of its buildings and its sculptures distributed all around its landscapes.

Its pleasant climate also makes Naoshima a great spot for its sand beaches. At the last population count in 2013, the area’s number of inhabitants (made up of several islands) were a little more than three thousands. While getting closer to the land, the ferry ride has the advantages of offering incredible views and landscapes thanks to the multiple islands of the Inland Sea. To enjoy it at the maximum, do not hesitate to go up to the ferry's superior deck.

Starting in the eighties, Soichiro Fukutake, president of the Benesse society, decided to transform Naoshima into an art capital. Helped by the famous architect Tadao Ando, several museums and all buildings of the vast "Benesse Art Site" were created. The city buildings and schools were designed by the architect Kazuhiro Ishii.

This Benesse house (from the eponymous big company based in Okayama) happens to be one of the unmissable places of the island, and this for several reasons:

  • its architecture is a real show for the eyes, with its huge volumes and concrete walls;
  • the works of art it houses are very interesting and diverse (photos being forbidden, you have to go there by yourself to discover them);
  • the surroundings of the main building have numerous sculptures, whether in its park or close to the beach (such as Yayoi Kusama's famous yellow pumpkin, the unofficial symbol of Naoshima);
  • its surprising offer includes the famous museum with about forty hotel rooms;
  •  it is the only museum opened on Monday.

However on this day, since on the Benesse house is the only museum opened, the flow of tourists decreases by 90% down! It is therefore the occasion to discover the island from another point of view, enjoying its gorgeous beaches and its rural side to gain a great chance to escape from Japanese big cities.

The rest of the week, numerous tourists come to walk around the small roads, tracking the works of Art. Pay attention to the entrance fees, quite high in the museums, the only free one being the museum dedicated to 007 (as a reminder of the novel The Man with the Red Tattoo, published in 2002 and where the story takes place).

The game field remains at human scale, but to easily cover the eight square kilometers, we recommend to rent a bike to enjoy the several artistic collections distributed around Naoshima.

This visit article has been realized with an organized and sponsored travel by the Tourism Center of Tokushima prefecture. Kanpai has been invited and guided but keeps a total freedom of editorial content.
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Naoshima photo gallery

  • Naoshima 5
  • Naoshima 1
  • Naoshima 2
  • Naoshima 3
  • Naoshima 4
  • Naoshima 6
  • Naoshima 7
  • Naoshima 8
  • Naoshima 9
  • Naoshima 10
  • Naoshima 11
  • Naoshima 12
  • Naoshima 13
  • Naoshima 14
  • Naoshima 15
  • Naoshima 16
  • Naoshima 17
  • Naoshima 18
  • Naoshima 19

Information

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How to get to Naoshima

By Ferry:

  • from Uno (Honshu/ in JR from Okayama) Miyanoura or Honmura ports
  • from Takamatsu (Shikoku, Miyanoura port)

Location unreachable with the JR Pass

Get there with a rental car

Find a flight to Tokyo

Admission

Ferry: ¥290 (~US$ 2.60) one way

Museums:

  • Benesse House: ¥1,030 (~US$ 9.10)
  • Lee Ufan Museum: ¥1,030 (~US$ 9.10)
  • Ando Museum: ¥510 (~US$ 4.50)
  • Chichu Museum: ¥2,060 (~US$ 18.30)
  • 007 Museum: free
  • free access for the outside works of art

Rental bikes at Miyanoura:

  • ¥500 (~US$ 4.40) the day
  • ¥2,000 (~US$ 17.70) with electrical motor

few free buses shuttles on the island

Get your Japanese Yens free of charge

Opening hours

The island is always open but its inside attractions are on average open from 10am to 5pm (from 8am to 9pm for the Benesse), with irregular closing days

How long / when to visit

About one day on site

Avoiding winter and rainy days because lot of time spent outside

In Japanese

直島

Accomodation in Naoshima

Book your hotel on Booking or Hotels.com

Connexion internet

Stay connected with a Pocket Wifi in Japan

Related topics

Resources

Naoshima Officiel Website (in Japanese)

Benesse Art Official Website (in English)

Day trips from Naoshima (Shikoku)