The fundamental aim in life is to feel-all-the-good-feels right? Naoshima Island will stir up all those intangible memories of being a free-as-a-bird kid – embarking on adventures; that eerie feeling of getting lost, uncovering a mystery, peddling a bike so fast it feels like the wheels might fall off and best of all, feeling genuine surprise.
With the pristine nature of the Seto Inland Sea as a backdrop, this strange, beautiful island injects you with that feeling that I know I pine for so much from my childhood. Peppered with unforgettable scenery and unexpected contemporary art and architecture – some proudly on show, others hard to find and hidden; the place will challenge your perception. Being on Naoshima is a second chance at being a kid again.
The Art House project was my favourite element from the visit. Japanese artists take empty houses scattered about the small town and turn the spaces themselves into works of art, weaving in history and memories of the period when the buildings were lived in and used. Navigating the labyrinth of laneways deliver glimpses of normal life, locals going about their usual business.
“A notable feature of the Art House Project is that because viewing it means traversing a zone of daily life, it acts as a catalyst for interaction between visitors and local residents, giving rise to many a memorable episode”. – Art House Project
How I got there: From Hiroshima take the Shinkansen to Okayama, change to the regional train line to Uno; from there, take a beautiful 30-minute ferry ride to Naoshima.
Top tip! On arriving to the island, hire an electric bike (you won’t regret it, it will help you explore parts of the island you would struggle to see on a normal bike) and don’t be a dork – use as much Japanese as you can during every interaction with the locals.
Ask about my stay on Naoshima, Japan: @ILoveSaturdays.