JAPAN Inspiration Gallery 1 Japan
Back to Listing

Naoshima

For contemporary art lovers, Naoshima is one of the most talked about immersive experiences in the world. Home to unique ‘art-itecture’, a mixture of modern artworks and inventive building structures, this small island in the Seto Inland Sea is well worth a visit. The remote spot holds an extraordinary collection of works by the acclaimed Pritzker prize-winning architect Tadao Ando, so much so that it was often referred to as ‘Ando Island’ during its formative years. As soon as one steps aboard the ferry with the Yayoi Kusama inspired spotty decoration, the boundaries between nature, architecture and art merge, bringing to life the concept behind Naoshima.

Sculptures and installations are dotted around the centrepiece of the island, Benesse House, which doubles as a museum and accommodation. This hotel offers exclusive access to the museum after hours, once the day-trippers have disappeared, and guests can also soak in the striking views from this idyll during the day. The highest vantage point within the Oval wing overlooks the pastel blue sea, and nearby rural islands, whereas rooms at ground level look across the shore to Kusama’s iconic yellow pumpkin. Nearby, Chichu Museum is an art project in itself, designed by Tadao Ando with contributions from other architects and built into the hillside, so as to preserve the natural coastal views. Five of Monet's water lily paintings are mounted here in a magical, naturally lit setting, along with more modern installations by Walter de Maria and James Turrell. These interactive pieces of art play with light and space in original ways to evoke an almost other-worldly ambience.

Wander around, or rent an electric bicycle, to explore the old fishing village, discovering the various ‘Art House Project’ exhibits on a sort of art treasure hunt! These tucked away gems vary hugely and include Ando and Turrell’s Backside of the Moon collaboration in which mysterious artworks slowly appear out of total darkness as one’s eyes naturally acclimatise to the light.

The Lee Ufan Museum, renowned for its minimalistic creations, can be found here, as can the Ando Museum, showcasing his incredible designs. This is worth a visit, if only to admire the original architectural drawings and designs of the futuristic Church of Light in Osaka. If time, call into Japan's only bathhouse doubling as an art gallery, ‘I Love Yuu’, before exploring the installations on neighbouring Teshima and Inujima. The oval-domed architecture housing Teshima’s Art Museum is so awe-inspiring that it often moves viewers to tears.

The surreal artwork on Naoshima is sure to spark one’s imagination and have a memorable effect – artists would be hard pressed not to feel their creative juices flowing here! And for those that do not need to gain inspiration for new visions and projects, a visit to this atmospheric island is fascinating, purely to witness the unbelievable transformation of a once-abandoned fishing village reborn into a world renowned, one-of-a-kind ‘Art Island’.

Naoshima Japan cover.jpg (1) Naoshima Japan cover.jpg (1)
Naoshima Japan 16 Naoshima Japan 16
Naoshima Benesse_House.jpg Naoshima Benesse_House.jpg
12 - Naoshima Ando architecture.JPG 12 - Naoshima Ando architecture.JPG
Naoshima art.jpg Naoshima art.jpg
Naoshima Japan 5 Naoshima Japan 5

Key

34.459703,133.995689,5
To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.
Bill Bryson

Difficult to articulate just how good the service from you and your team really was. We know you will continue to do well and hope we have the chance to seek your assistance again before long.
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
We have been on expensive and luxurious holidays in the past, but the service and communication Ampersand has provided has far exceeded those offered by other agencies.
- Susan Ford, India
I had a very lovely time and was looked after splendidly. My first visit to India could not have been better, save for being longer! But I shall return at some point and I shall look to you to make the arrangements.
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
Everything you did for us whilst we were away was hugely appreciated, and Ampersand has been exemplary in every way. I'll always recommend you!
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
We had a wonderful holiday - everything was perfect. Thank you for helping us to make a thoughtful plan to enjoy and make most out of our trip. The places we visited, the guides, the transportation and driver, the hotels selected... Everything was great!
- Jaime Benitez, South India
Without question, you put together the best trip I have ever taken. We were shown around like visiting dignitaries, the hotels were fantastic and the itinerary was just right. Everybody I know will hear about how amazing Ampersand is!
- Leslie Siben, India
Ampersand’s details preparation, attention to detail and interaction before and during our trip show exactly why good travel agents have a role in today’s internet/direct booking age. Shalmali was a delight to work with – before and during our trip.
- Mr David Wallace, North India
So many highlights to choose from! The hotels were amazing but Maya Villa was a highlight… I loved just hanging out in the hammock reading my book and watching the peacocks chase the cows!
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka

From our Instagram

Travel to #Burma (#Myanmar) with us to be welcomed by  friendly locals like the ‘longneck’ Kayan (also known as Padaung) 🇲🇲
.
#AmpersandTravel #LuxuryIsInTheExperience
Set sail in the serene, crystal-clear waters of the #KomodoIslands to discover one of the world’s richest marine environments 🌊
.
If you’re after a romantic escape, look no further than #Alexa luxury yacht 🇮🇩
.
#AmpersandTravel #LuxuryIsInTheExperience
✨Ampersand’s ‘Top 10 Swimming Pools’ hotlist - 2019 ✨
.
Check our #Stories to be tempted to dive into the hottest hotels’ new pools, as well as some of our firm old favourites across Asia... 🏊🏻‍♂️💧
.
#AmpersandTravel #LuxuryIsInTheExperience
Glide through the iridescent #InleLake for a chance to see the traditional Intha (‘sons of the lake’) fishermen 🎣
.
#AmpersandTravel #LuxuryIsInTheExperience
#Japan bursts with life especially when the neon-lights get switched on 🌃
.
Spot #Geisha in #Kyoto at dusk & explore the nightlife in #Tokyo to experience its buzz 🇯🇵
It’s all about razor-sharp Japanese design at the @ritzcarltonkyoto - our absolute favourite hotel in the Imperial capital #Kyoto 🌿🎌
.
#AmpersandTravel #LuxuryIsInTheExperience
Travel with us to spot elephants 🇿🇦🐘🐘🐘
.
You can see these gentle giants in all of our Southern Africa destinations: #Botswana #Namibia #Mozambique #Zambia & #Zimbabwe
.
#AmpersandTravel #LuxuryIsInTheExperience
Rise early to witness a spectacular sunrise over the terraced rice paddies in #Bali 🌿🌅
.
And stay at the luxurious #COMOUmaUbud to experience #Ubud at its finest 🇮🇩
.
#AmpersandTravel #LuxuryIsInTheExperience
Fine red shells blend seamlessly into the powdery white seashore of the #KomodoIslands to create this natural wonder - the otherworldly #PinkBeach 🏄🏼‍♀️🌊
.
Dive into its crystal-clear aquamarine waters to explore one of the richest marine environments on Earth 🌏
.
#AmpersandTravel #LuxuryIsInTheExperience

Let us keep you up to date

Sign up to our newsletter and never miss out on unmissable exclusive luxury experiences