Soak yourself in the beauty of the serene coastal line of the Seto Inland Sea and outdoor public art pieces like Yayoi Kusama’s Pumpkins along its beach on Naoshima.
Naoshima is the main island of Setouchi Triennale – where a contemporary art fair takes place every 3 years.
The fair attracts about 1 million visitors during the fair.
So, Naoshima heavily advertises itself as an art island but if you go there with that expectation, you may get disappointed.
A beautiful coast line and nature as the main dish and Art as a side dish.
In size, quality and the number of art pieces displayed on Naoshima, the island wouldn’t live up to the standard of “art island” according to Trip Advisors feedbacks and my own experience.
Two Yayoi Kusama Pumpkins in Naoshima
If you are not into contemporary art, you see these two Yayoi Kusama Pumpkins and its’s game over!
But if you go there mainly to enjoy the beautiful, serene coastline and the nature by the ocean, and view outdoor art installations as just a “side dish”, then Naoshima would suddenly turn itself into a fantastic place.
If you go to an island and happen to encounter many fantastic outdoor art installations like Yayoi Kusama Pumpkins and other good ones whilst enjoying the ocean and the nature, it’s fantastic, isn’t it?
So, let’s see what this one day trip brings for you.
The moment you arrive at the port, a Red Kusama Pumpkin awaits you.
Miyanoura Port（宮浦港）in Naoshima
In the high season, this port can be very crowded.
The one and only convenience store in Naoshima
It would be difficult to use credit cards apart from the museums and its shops. So if you don’t have much cash on yourself, come to this Seven Eleven convenience store and get out some cash from the ATM in the store.
It is only a 3 minutes walk from the port.
The bus to Tsutsuji Inn（つつじ荘）
The fare is only 100 yen per ride(if you are under 12, it’s 50Yen)
There is no ticket machine on the bus and the bus driver usually can’t give you a change when getting off, so get your 100 yen ready before getting off.
There is only a real voice announcement with no microphone, which was very hard to listen to even for me, a native Japanese speaker.
But at the same time, it makes this trip very unique too. Good thing is your destination is the last stop – Tsutsuji Inn（つつじ荘）.
So just sit back and wait until the bus completely stops.
Gotanji Beach and its cute little Torii Gate
As soon as you arrive at the Tsutsuji Inn, this cute little Torii Gate is standing right before you.
This is also a beach for swimming. In summertime, you may see some people swimming and play around the beach.
Either I have heard or read somewhere: if you place a stone or pine cone on top of the gate, it will bring you a luck, that’s why you see lots of small things on the Torii Gate.
Pick up a little stone or pine cone and place it on the Torii Gate if you want, it could bring you a luck.
Entering into Benesse Art Site
From here, the road goes slightly uphill, and it leads up to most of the museums in Naoshima.
Yellow Yayoi Kusama Pumpkin
No explanation needed! There are always some people trying to take their best selfie… It’s quite big, so you can see it from pretty much anywhere from this beach.
There are museums and an art shop as well as outside art installations along this beautiful sand beach. I like this area a lot, I could chill all day long here. It’s also a nice spot to view sunset.
The entrance of Benesse House Museum
The Entrance is 1,030 Yen:
Unfortunately, you are not allowed to take pictures or film inside….although you are allowed in Louvre Museum or British Museusm, Tate Modern…
There are not-so-popular works of David Hockney, Jean Michel Basquiat, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, Tom Wesselmann and the likes.
Even if you view all the works carefully, it would take only 1 hour. The cafe at the museum shop and restaurant in the museum have fantastic ocean views.
A break time with coffee, some snacks and most importantly the beautiful Seto Inland Sea.
On the way back to the Tsutsuji Inn bus stop, there were some other people taking pictures. People love Kusama Pumpkin!
Make sure you get the right bus to make it in time for your last ferry back to Takamatsu Port or Uno Port.
The last ferry from Naoshima to Takamatsu departs at 6:05pm. If you wanna catch the last ferry to Takamatsu, make sure you catch the bus at 5:00pm at Tsutsuji Inn to Miyanoura Port.
General Information :
Bus Fare: 100 yen for adults per ride, 50yen for kids under 12 per ride.
Benesse House Museum
Entrance fee: 1030yen for adults; free for children under 15
Opening Hours: 8:00am – 9:00pm (Last Entry – 8:00pm)
Open all year round
Address: 〒761-3110 香川県香川郡直島町琴弾地