Art House Project, Naoshima, Japan

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A few years ago, Rama, Elodie, and I spent two magical days on Naoshima Island in Japan. We took a high-speed Shinkansen train from Tokyo to Okoyama, and another train from Okoyama to Uno Port where we caught the ferry to Naoshima. The journey was worth it for the ferry ride alone. But the charmed atmosphere continued as we ventured by shuttle bus to our hotel, Benesse House, a gorgeous modern structure featuring a contemporary art museum designed by Tadao Ando. We explored the sculpture gardens featuring works by Yayoi Kusama and Niki de Saint Phalle, and collected seashells and driftwood at the beach before enjoying a bento box dinner in our room.

My favorite part of the trip was the Art House Project — a collection of traditional Japanese houses converted into contemporary art galleries. The exquisite details of the Japanese architecture had been restored, but instead of the furnishings of the fisherman’s families who once resided here, we found surprising works of art. The most stunning piece was a light installation by James Turrell. I won’t give away the secret, but you can be assured that it left a lasting impression.

If I ever go back, I’ll stay with some of the locals and get a more authentic experience of what life on Naoshima Island is like. I’ll also go back for a second helping of the most delicious black sesame ice cream I’ve ever head. Have you ever been to Naoshima Art Island? I hope you get the chance to go.

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