Things to Do in Naoshima Japan's Art Island - Traveler Door

Things to Do in Naoshima Japan’s Art Island

Away from the hustle and bustle of crowded cities, Naoshima island off the coast of Okayama offers a change of pace for people travelling in Japan.

In recent years, it has gained popularity due to the seemingly random presence of magnificent artworks on the island. Read on to find out how to make the most of your journey to Japan’s Art Island.

Whether you’re there for a day trip or a weekend retreat, the best way to see Naoshima is to rent a bicycle and explore on your own time. If you plan accordingly and follow the main circumferential road, it shouldn’t take longer than a full day to get around. The idea is to roam freely and uncover the island’s magic for yourself.

You will also discover hidden quirks not found in tourist maps, and you are more likely to get inspired by the natural beauty of the environment. Don’t forget to take plenty of photos!


Fill up your itinerary with the various places of interest on the island. Yayoi Kusama’s famous squash sculpture and the nearby Naoshima Pavilion greets arrivals at Miyanoura Port, serving as both starting point and finish line for anyone attempting the full circuit.

The Art House Project is a collection of traditional houses creatively reimagined by various local artists. Many freestanding installations also dot the landscape, from the streets and shrines to the beaches and marshes.

Benesse Art Site, the main attraction, includes a hotel, souvenir shops, and several museums built in partnership with the brilliant Tadao Ando. They display works by the likes of Claude Monet, Walter de Maria, and James Turrell. Wander around and soak up the masterful work, from the paintings and sculptures to the architecture of the buildings themselves that offer majestic panoramic views of the surrounding nature.


After a long day, rejuvenate yourself with a soothing dip in steaming hot water at the bath house. Oh, and yes, even the bath house is part of the aforementioned Art House Project. After all, they call this place Art Island. You might as well immerse.