An Iisland of art, blessed with nature and attracting worldwide attention. Selected as one of the "seven places in the world you should see next."
Nao-shima Island is a small island with a population of about 3,400 people, situated in the Seto Inland Sea. It was selected by Conde Nast Traveler, an American sightseeing magazine, as one of the "seven places in the world you should see next." The island is also mentioned in "The Man with the Red Tattoo," the 007 novel written by Raymond Benson and published in England.
Benesse Art Site Naoshima is an attempt to produce an utterly new type of space and experience by setting contemporary art and architecture amidst the beauty of nature. The site includes many unique places and projects such as Benesse House, a museum where you can spend the night that was designed by renowned Japanese architect Tadao Ando, and the Art House Project, where artists renovate old houses, turning the house and the space inside into a new "work of art."
Tadao Ando also designed the Chichu Art Museum, where "Water Lilies" by Claude Monet, and works by James Turrell and Walter De Maria, contemporary artists long involved with Nao-shima Island, are displayed in its permanent collections. The museum has a beautiful garden featuring plants that were cherished by Monet, allowing you to gain a deeper understanding of his works.
You can also enjoy a wonderful classic Japanese Bunraku (puppet theater) on the island. A special feature of Bunraku on Nao-shima Island is that all of the performers are women, which is not found anywhere else in Japan.
In parallel with these kinds of art projects, Nao-shima Island also focuses on environmental activities. You can visit a valuable metal recycling facility and an industrial waste processing facility. Be sure to make reservations at least one week prior to the day of your visit.
Modes of transport available on the island include bus and rental bike. There are no hotels apart from the Benesse House. You can, however, stay at a 'ryokan' (traditional Japanese-style inn), or a 'minshuku' (guest house), which is a regular private house open to tourists. You cannot expect too much privacy at a minshuku, but you will surely enjoy the homey atmosphere.
From Tokyo :
[Air] 1h 10 min from Haneda to Takamatsu Airport, and 35 min by bus from the airport to Takamatsu Station. 50 min from the ferry terminal (close to the station) to Nao-shima Island by Shikoku Kisen Ferry.
[Rail] 3h 20 min from Tokyo to Okayama Station by JR Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen Line, and then take a bus from Okayama Station to Uno Port. 20 min from the port to Nao-shima Island by ferry.
From Osaka :
[Rail] 40 min from Shin-Osaka to Okayama Station by Shinkansen.
[Bus] 3h 30 min from Kansai International Airport to Takamatsu by limousine bus.