Planning a day trip to Naoshima Art Island including the Okayama Gardens on the way?
Naoshima art island is a really surreal place to visit in Japan and for anyone interested in art in general, while the Okayama Gardens are one of the best Japanese Gardens in Japan.
Naoshima is 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.
I’ll tell you how to get there at the end of the article.
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 on 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.
You can find cute cafes to chill out in for a break between exploring the art on Naoshima.
The yellow “apple” is one of the most well-known art sculptures on Naoshima Island and is designed by Yayoi Kusama.
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 you’re a James Bond fan.
Getting Around Naoshima Island
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 Island.
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 (you can get one with that link) and the pass will save you money if you plan to move around quite a bit in Japan.
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.
The nearby island of Teshima is also cool to visit as well if you have the time. There you can visit the excellent Teshima Art Museum.
Add a few hours in Okayama on the way to Naoshima Island (or the way back) to see one of the best Japanese gardens in all of Japan.
The gardens were first built in 1700 by the areas domain lord and have evolved over the centuries with subsequent adding on.
It is one of the famous Three Great Gardens of Japan.
A short video summing up the day trip:
Naoshima Island and the Okayama Gardens makes one of the best day trips from Osaka, Kyoto, or Hiroshima, where many travellers base themselves and that’s what’s suggested to do.
You could actually do the reverse actually and base yourself in Okayama and day trip from there but I would highly recommend using Osaka or Kyoto for day trips.
There are lots more articles on Japan at my guide for Japan. More articles added on a regular basis to help you get the best out of your visit to Japan.
Have fun in Naoshima and Okayama!
Definitely take travel insurance before going to Japan as it’s an expensive country for medical treatment if you get sick on your trip.
I’ve been caught out myself in the past medically while travelling and have used World Nomads for my travel insurance and they have been excellent.
Get an insurance quote:
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