Contemporary arts and architecture draw enthusiasts worldwide
Benesse Art Site Naoshima is an art project developed on the small islands of Naoshima, Teshima and Inujima through collaboration between Benesse Holdings, Inc. and Fukutake Foundation. Among these islands, Naoshima — with a population about 3,000 residents — is a special place where people can enjoy Contemporary arts and architectural works in a splendid setting of ocean and mountain views, which has become a popular destination for international visitors. In contrast, Teshima Island, a homey place that preserves its local lifestyle amid unspoiled natural beauty, offers opportunities for artistic appreciation through its three art museums and more.
Be sure to visit three major museums by Tadao Ando
At the center of Naoshima is Benesse House, created in 1992. Designed by the world-renowned architect Tadao Ando, this facility integrates hotel and museum functions. Additional facilities include Chichu Art Museum, which exhibits Monet’s Water Lilies for viewing in natural light, and Lee Ufan Museum that allows visitors to “face” works of art in a quiet space. All these places share the common goal of seeking to unite the essence of art, architecture and nature. Since Benesse House harmonizes with its natural surroundings, visitors can appreciate the feeling of the island while staying in the facility.
Benesse House | Photo: Tadasu Yamamoto
Chichu Art Museum | Photo: FUJITSUKA Mitsumasa
Lee Ufan Museum | Photo: Tadasu Yamamoto
“Pumpkin” by Yayoi Kusama — symbol of Naoshima
Artworks are exhibited in open-air settings around Naoshima. Among these, the most popular piece — and symbol of the island — is Yayoi Kusama’s Pumpkin. Overlooking the sea, this artwork seems to change expressions by time and condition, at dawn and dusk, in bright sunlight and heavy rain. This once-in-a-lifetime encounter with the arts is impossible in the “white cube” environment of conventional museums.
Yayoi Kusama Pumpkin | Photo: Shigeo Anzai
Art House Project — synergy of island history and the arts
There are unique art facilities — called Art House Project — that make use of old vacant houses. The center of this development is in the Honmura area, where a fishing village still remains. Currently, there are seven Art House Projects, such as Minamidera by James Turrell and Tadao Ando and Go’o Shrine by Hiroshi Sugimoto. Tours guided by island volunteers are popular. Honmura area includes the Ando Museum, which provides an introduction to the architectural achievements of Tadao Ando that no one should miss when visiting the island.
Art House Project “Kadoya” | Photo: Norihiro Ueno
Art House Project “Go’o Shrine” Hiroshi Sugimoto “Appropriate Proportion” | Photo: Hiroshi Sugimoto
ANDO MUSEUM | Photo:Yoshihiro Asada
Japanese public bathhouse transformed into art space
Known as Sento, Japanese bathhouses used to be indispensable public facilities for common people. Naoshima Bath “I Love YU” was established as a social space for visitors and Naoshima islanders. “Yu” in Japanese means “hot water.” Both exterior and interior reflect the world of the artist Shinro Ohtake. Since the Miyanoura area is located within walking distance from Miyanoura Port, you can drop by this intriguing art space briefly right after arrival at Naoshima or right before.
Shinro Ohtake’s Naoshima Bath “I Love YU” | Photo: Osamu Watanabe
Teshima Art Museum by world-acclaimed architect Ryue Nishizawa
If you visit Teshima (probably after departing from Naoshima), a must-visit site is the Teshima Art Museum built on a small hill. This museum was designed by Ryue Nishizawa, who took seven years to complete his plan. The youngest-ever recipient of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, Nishizawa is a member of SANAA, which was also engaged in designing Louvre-Lens. Within the white space of the Teshima Art Museum, an installation by artist Rei Naito welcomes you. Visitors can indulge in the luxury of quiet communion with artworks in an open-air space, while feeling sea breezes and gentle sunlight softened by the shade of tree leaves. In addition, Les Archives du Cœur (The Archive of Heartbeats) by Christian Boltanski is installed next to a nearby beach, and Teshima Yokoo House, located near Ieura Port, exhibits the works of Japan’s representative painter Tadanori Yokoo. Moreover, small artworks are found indoors and outdoors at old residences throughout the Karato area. Visitors can enjoy island street views and artworks at the same time.
Teshima Art Museum | Photo: Ken'ichi Suzuki
Christian Boltanski’s “Les Archives du Cœur” | Photo: KUGE Yasuhide
Teshima Yokoo House | Photo: Tadasu Yamamoto
- Naoshima-cho, Kagawa-gun, Kagawa Pref. / Teshima, Tonosho-cho, Shozu-gun, Kagawa Pref.
- • Benesse House: 087-892-3223
• Chichu Art Museum: 087-892-3755
• Lee Ufan Museum: 087-892-3754
• Art House Project (Ie Project): 087-892-3223
• Ando Museum: 087-892-3754
• Naoshima Sentou “I Love Yu”: 087-892-2626
• Teshima Museum: 0879-68-3555
- varies depending on facility
- generally Monday (except Benesse House Museum, no holiday)
- varies depending on facility
- not specified
- Approx. 40 minutes by Kotoden Bus from Takamatsu Airport to Takamatsu Station. 5-minute walk from the station to Takamatsu Bay. 30 minutes by speedboat or 1 hour by ferry from Takamatsu Bay to Miyaura Port. Town bus or rental bicycle is recommended from Miyaura Port to various venues.
- Access to the Takamatsu Airport
- From Tokyo International Airport (Haneda): 1 hour and 15 minutes
- From Naha Airport: 1 hour and 55 minutes