48 Hours in Naoshima

Asia Travel Expert, Kirsty was spellbound by much of of Japan, but nowhere inspired her as much as Naoshima. The island is a contemporary art paradise and offers the unique opportunity to stay in a hotel that is part of an art museum. Here is Kirsty’s guide for spending the weekend in magical Naoshima…

Located just a twenty-minute ferry ride from Uno Port, Naoshima is a haven for contemporary art lovers. This small island, set in the Seto Inland Sea, began to grow as an art mecca in the 1980s, and now, it is home to five art museums and littered with concrete art structures. As a lovely add on to your Japan itinerary here are my recommendations for your forty-eight hours in Naoshima.

Where to stay
On an island full of art, there is nowhere else more appropriate to stay than in a stylish art museum. Designed by Tadao Ando, Benesse House is a slick and stylish property that is not a luxury hotel, but rather a contemporary art museum equipped with comfortable and stylish guest rooms. To truly splurge and spoil yourself, I recommend staying in one of their Oval suites. Set on the highest vantage point of Benesse House Museum, these suites boast the best views of the Inland Sea below. No matter which of the four complexes you stay in, whether it’s the Park, Beach, Museum, or Oval, you can enjoy exclusive after-hours access to the Benesse Museum.

How to get around
Benesse House’s free shuttle from their various buildings to the art museums make getting around Naoshima extremely easy. For the more active guests I recommend utilizing the island’s bikes or walking around on foot.

What to do
Exploring the art of Naoshima is an absolute must during your forty-eight hours on the island. With over five art galleries that feature the work of Monet, James Turrell, and many more, there is plenty to keep you amused for the day.

I also highly recommend a day trip to the island of Teshima. Just a short twenty-minute ferry ride away from Naoshima, Teshima is another small Japanese island dedicated to modern art. On arrival at Teshima port rent a bike and cycle to Teshima Art Museum. On the bike ride up to truly one of the coolest art museums I’ve ever seen stop and explore the islands smaller art exhibits. After your rewarding cycle enjoy lunch at Umi No before returning back to Naoshima.

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