Naoshima was merely another island home for fishermen in the middle of the Seto Inland Sea before it was transformed into a floating home for art, installation and sculpture. Today, it’s an art-lover’s paradise and thought-provoking art project - a must-visit destination for creative souls.
Navigate the island’s myriad of indoor and outdoor installations, world-class art galleries and whimsical architecture, either on foot or, as we would recommend, via a private cycling tour. Don’t miss the famous yellow pumpkin, dotted in black, by Yayoi Kusama, which has become a symbol of the island itself.
Be sure to pay a visit to Benesse House and the Chichu Art Museum. Both buildings were designed by world-renowned Japanese architect Tadao Ando and display iconic artworks by Walter de Maria, Richard Long, Claude Monet, James Turrell, and Andy Warhol, among others.
Other activities on Naoshima include a paddle on the sandy beaches and a soak in the kitschy onsen baths of I Love Yuu bathhouse (which is also an artwork in itself), located at the ferry port of Miyanoura.
Naoshima Island is perfect for a day trip, either from Shikoku Island or from Honshu, depending on your itinerary. However, an overnight stay on the island is a real treat, as you can even stay in the Benesse House art gallery itself, in a hotel that is part of the property, to truly immerse yourself in the art.
An international phenomenon and a weird-but-wonderful concept, the innovative and inspired artworks on display across the island, as well as Naoshima itself, are sure to stick in your mind and become a highlight of your trip to Japan.