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Naoshima is an exceptional island isolated from Japan big city noise and speed. It combines culture and relaxation and offers a unique chance to see some of Japan’s best contemporary art in a lovely natural setting.
How to get there:
From a big city like Osaka or Tokyo, the express train will take you less than an hour to Okayama. From there, catch a one hour bus to Uno port in Minayoura. There you can grab a 20 minutes ferry Naoshima. As it takes time to get to Naoshima I suggest not rushing and sleeping there one night. Remaining overnight will advance your excursion to Benesse Art Site Naoshima.
Where to sleep:
Benesse House is both a museum and a hotel with spacious rooms that showcases even more contemporary art. Benesse House offers visitors a chances to be near and engage with amazing artworks.
What to do:
The two principal things to do are visit the two museums designed by Tadao Ando.
The Benesse Museum
Established in 1992, it is an uncommon site where nature, architecture, and art over natural and built environments across Naoshima. You can discover site specific work by Tom Wesselman, Cy Twombly, Alberto Giacometti, David Hockney, Jean Michel Basquiat, Yves Klein, Bruce Naumann and more. You’ll also see work by Niki de Saint Phalle and the famous Yayoi Kusama Pumpkin. Benesse House is an outstanding and unique experience.
The Chichu Art Museum
The Chichu Art Museum was built in 2004 as a site reconsidering the connection betwee nature and the individual. Mostly constructed underground to in order to not disrupt the landscape and views of the Seto Inland Ocean. Works of art by Claude Monet, James Turrell, and Walter De Maria are on display. Despite being underground, the exhibition hall lets in a plenty of natural light, which moves across the galleries throughout the day.
Note beforehand, you are not allowed to take pictures and in most of the rooms you will be asked to take your shoes off and be as silent as possible. The conditions for viewing are all about respect and pure appreciation of the art. The strict rules protect and provide an intimacy and privacy to the space. Naoshima changed our perception of how we enjoy art. Instead of giving into the desire of inserting ourselves, we learned to contemplate art with all of our senses.