Naoshima, the popular tourist destination is a small island located in the Seto Inland Sea between Okayama and Kagawa prefecture. It is not your typical island escape, as its main attraction is not a resort but of its reputation with many art galleries, projects and unique architecture on its premise. Its most famous art piece on display being Yayoi Kusama’s yellow pumpkin, it overlooks the beach facing Benesse Hotel, and is widely regarded as the icon of Naoshima.
There are numerous galleries and architectures to visit on Naoshima, but Chichu Art Museum is particularly notorious and is the most sort after of them all. Designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando, the building is constructed underground as not to disturb the beautiful scenery of Naoshima. Contrary to its design, the rooms inside the gallery gets plenty of sunlight from outside, its mood ever-changing by seasons and time of day. Works by Claude Monet, James Turrell and Walter De Maria are on permanent display. The gallery limits the number of people entering to prevent over-crowding, guaranteeing total immersion and appreciation of its works exhibited.
Another popular attraction in Naoshima is the Art House Projects, where several old village residence are converted into quirky art spaces exhibiting works by domestic and international artists. The village where the project houses are scattered is a beautiful walk by itself, as many residences retain traditional architecture and a modest Japanese atmosphere.
Architecture of public institution buildings such as post offices, schools and town halls are unique to the island, and this scenery combined with the island’s beautiful nature and arty attractions invites a strange feeling that you have wondered into a secular, alien world.