Naoshima art island is a really surreal place to visit in Japan. Full of modern art museums, sculptures, and weird architecture, it’s a cool escape down the so called “rabbit hole”.
Many of the art is outside.
Naoshima makes one of the best day trips from Osaka, Kyoto, or Hiroshima, where many travellers base themselves.
I’ll tell you how to get there at the end of the article.
Naoshima Art Island
Many of the art installations are scattered around the south of the island and the best way to see them is to rent a bike from the port where the ferry drops you off. It costs 500 yen for the day for the bike.
Cycle around and take it all in. There are a few cute cafes as you go to take a break in.
The main museums are in the east of the southern part of the island such as the Chichu Art Museum and Benesse House.
Catching the sunset before catching the ferry back to the mainland is a good way to finish the day. Find some surreal art to make it better.
Strange architecture can be seen. Alternative universe.
Some colourful sculptures are about.
Find a cute cafe to chill out in.
The yellow “apple?” is one of the most well known art sculptures on Naoshima. It rests on the end of a small pier.
Just some simple random stuff adds to the overall atmosphere.
There’s a small James Bond museum in Miyanoura with checking out, especially if your a James Bond fan.
Getting Around Naoshima
As mentioned before cycling is the best way to get around. There are some hills but they’re not so bad and it won’t take so long to cycle the southern part of the island where most of the art is located on Naoshima.
There are a few buses that go between the main docking port where most tourists get off at Miyanoura to the main museums on the eastern side.
I would only use the buses if it was a bad rainy day, or if not interested in the random art sculptures scattered around and just wanted to visit the main museums.
How to Get to Naoshima Island From Okayama
Okayama will most likely be your jumping off point to get to Naoshima as trains from Osaka, Kyoto, and Hiroshima all stop there.
The train is covered by the Japan Rail Pass if you have one. Take the Uno Line from Okayama to Uno. There might be one transfer en-route but you can ask about that before leaving Okayama Station.
From there the ferry terminal is only a few minutes walk away where you can get a ferry to Naoshima.
Exit Naoshima Island
If you like art be sure to try and do a day trip to Naoshima when in that part of Japan. Add a few hours in Okayama on the way to see one of the best Japanese gardens in all of Japan.
There’s lots more Japan articles at my guide to Japan.
Find accommodation on Naoshima here.
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