Published Categorised as Art & Design, Japan, Photography, Popular Posts, Travel No Comments on Naoshi­ma

(Yayoi Kusama pump­kin sculp­ture on the beach)

I won a compet­i­tion last year for free plane tick­ets to Japan, and went with my friend Vicky for just under three weeks in March, using a rail pass to explore the main island of Honshu and stay­ing in hostels (and a spell in a hotel in Kyoto that came with the flights). Apart from the free flights we were totally broke, so a lot of the focus of the trip was on free or low cost attrac­tions like scenery and museums and making maxim­um use of the rail pass rather than restaur­ants, bars or shop­ping. You can see more photos from other places in the Japan category of this blog, and also read about the trip in the zine I wrote.

Naoshi­ma is tiny idyll­ic island in the Seto Inland sea devoted to modern art. The open­ing of the Benesse modern art museum (owned by the same organ­isa­tion as Berlitz language schools) revived the island’s fortunes, although it’s still a small and quiet place with only a few villages and a lot of old people.

We visited the museum, but no pictures were allowed inside, so these are all of the rest of the island. I’ve made a post of some of the artists in the collec­tion here.

Arriv­ing on the island took a while. We had to get a train from Kyoto to Okayama, then an slightly creaky local train to Uno port, then a boat from Uno to Miyan­oura on the island, then a tiny minibus decor­ated with Kusama pump­kins and with five seats inside to Honmura, the village where we were stay­ing.

The view back to the main­land

Honmura is a pretty little fish­ing village with a small harbour and narrow lanes of old wooden houses, with the Benesse House museum an easy walk of a couple of miles along the coast­line.

A court­yard garden between the wooden houses.

There are lots of plants outside people’s houses and in the street in Honmura.

Street bonsai. It’s defin­itely not a high crime place.

Totoro won’t let you drown.

Honmura harbour

Local boats

The tick­et office for ferry connec­tions (we had to get the ferry from here at 6am the next morn­ing)

Cafe on the harbour

Moored in order of colour

The end of Honmura

The Ando Museum in honour of Tadao Ando, the archi­tect who designed the vari­ous arts venues on the island (and a lot of other famous museums)

Sadly it was closed, but the build­ing itself is great.

Walk­ing along the coast towards Benesse House

This torii on the beach was covered in stones for good luck.

And the odd pine cone

Yayoi Kusama at sunset

The beach besides the museum

Climb­ing up the slope towards Benesse House

Cedar trees outside Benesse House

A sculp­ture at the top of the hill

Nearly there




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