Naoshima is an island town in the Seto Inland Sea.  In 1985, Tetsuhiko Fukutake, who founded Fukutake Publishing met with the mayor of Naoshima, Chikatsugu Miyake and agreed to develop the island into something educational.  In 1989, the architect, Tadao Ando oversaw the supervision of the first permanent art installation on the island.  In 1992, the Benesse House was built as a museum and hotel to hold guests and art.  The art island was born.

The island is quite amazing.  The surroundings are absolutely gorgeous and the museums that have been built are unique, small, quiet and inspiring.  There is something peaceful about the place.  We got here around 4 pm and were starving.  We went to the cafe and had some food. The options were limiting and what there was to eat was awful.  Although the views are gorgeous.

After a little rest, we walked up to the Benesse Museum before dinner.   What is amazing is that we were the only people in the museum.  Some incredible pieces.  Oh, no photos on the entire island in any of the museums, but I broke the rules.  The people here like to follow rules, the reality is I do not so not sure I am a culture fit here.  This is a view from our room.

The collection is not large but how each piece is displayed is incredible.  This gives you an idea of the scale of space in the museum.

This piece is called River Avon Mud Circles by the Inland Sea, Richard Long, 1997.

Great American Nude #39, Tom Wesselmann, 1962.  This pic does not give the piece justice.  It is about one foot deep and there is a view of the ocean through the window on the top right.

Yellow and Black Boats, Jennifer Bartlett, 1985.

Bruce Nauman’s piece sitting inside this concrete cylinder is so good.  The architecture marries the work.  There was also a Yves Klein, and a Basquiat.  This room captures a lot of how many of the buildings feel.

There are two restaurants at the Benesse House, and two seatings, 6 and 8.  Do not even attempt to sway from your time zone.  We were done with the museum a bit earlier and attempted to go to the restaurant around 715.  If there was a bar, we would have gone there, but there isn’t.  After a bit of negotiating, they finally let us sit and just have some drinks.  It was super warm in there and we kept opening the door, the manager wasn’t happy with that either.  Rules shall not be broken.

Finally, it was 8 pm and others were allowed in.  The woman next to us was hilarious.  As she walked in, she said, “this place is charming like a bus station.”.  She was right.  Super bright and strange.  Then her other comment was “this is like a luxury jail.”.  Hilarious but sort of true.  The place is magnificent, and the Benesse house is one of the only places to stay here, kind of a missed opportunity in regards to service but the art…well, it is just incredible.

Comments (Archived):

  1. JLM

    .No pics? Glad you broke the law.Carry bail money at all times.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  2. Semil Shah

    It’s been a dream of mine to spend 2 months floating around Japan — I love the country so much. Am living Internet-vicariously through these pictures — especially in this post. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Gotham Gal

      spend a week!

  3. awaldstein

    There is something so oddly attractive about this place.Unfamiliar but attractive.Thanks for letting m tag along.

    1. Gotham Gal

      It is peaceful