Interested in art? Nature? or Both? There is a perfect trip for you: Setouchi Triennale. An outdoor contemporary art exhibition, Setouchi Triennale, which was launched in 2010, is held for its third time, this year, on the islands of Setouchi in south-western part of Japan. Of the nine prefectures; Yamaguchi, Hiroshima, Okayama, Hyōgo, Osaka, Kagawa, Ehime, Fukuoka, and Oita, facing Setouchi Inland Sea, the Setouchi Triennale 2016 is held throughout 12 islands, Takamatsu and Uno; all of which are part of Kagawa Prefecture.
The blue flag is everywhere in Kagawa Pref. both on the mainland and on the islands.
This year, the Triennale is held for a total of 108 days throughout three seasons; spring, summer and autumn. With a “passport” that is valid throughout the three seasons at JPY5,000 (can be purchased at convenient stores and the event booths in Takamatsu, if not at JTB throughout Japan), one can return to the islands to enjoy different features that comes with the seasons.
Don’t miss the public art pieces, too!
Islands of Teshima, Ogijima or Inujima may not sound familiar as they are as remote and as local as they can be. Naoshima was one of the first islands to take on the lead with this festival back in 2010. Benesse, a company that focus on education and publishing was one of the frontrunners, as their mission grew to the area of art, and in fact, so strong, that they have turned the island into a heart of contemporary art exhibition. To allow people to spend time with art, they even built a hotel designed by Tadao Ando, a renown architect. Naoshima is now the mecca of contemporary art namely with Benesse House Museum, the Art House Project, Lee U-Fan museum and the Chichu Art Museum. Tadao Ando, again, plays strong role in this expansion of contemporary art facilities on Naoshima including his very own museum.
The view from the island of Naoshima is simply breathtaking.
Public bath on the other side of the island is also an art piece! You can even enjoy the bath while inside the art!
Widely-known design or the dotted pumpkin by Yayoi Kusama sits by the port of Naoshima.
One of the latest art piece by Sou Fujimoto is also now the face of the island.
Other islands are smaller yet bear as attractive features for the festival. Ogijima, for example, is so small that all art spots can only be reached on foot! The beauty of the islands covers a lot for the walks through the ups-and-downs hills! Plus, the uniqueness of the art spots makes one even more curious to discover the next house or the art piece! Inside the “passport” is a stamp card, where you can stamp the places of your visits. On Ogijima alone, one can enjoy 16 art pieces including unique sculptures.
Seemed like a simple tiny island as the ferry approaches Ogijima until the walk into the islands proves that it is an island full of art work!
Jaume Plensa is one of the international artists participating in this art festival. The piece that stands at the foot of the island produces“hello” in variety of languages through the shadows of the roof.
The island is as local as it can be. Some of the alley has little signage that says “private from here onwards”. The rest of the island is accessible for the art lovers!
Old houses are transformed into art piece, which one will only find out after he/she sets a step into the houses. “Kaleidoscope Black & White” is one of the pieces that was produced since the launch of the festival.
Work by Mayumi Kuri is also unique which bears a world of its own in a traditional warehouse.
With the festival taking place on 12 islands and 2 locations on the Honshu or the main land, one would need days to visit all art works. But with enjoyable trip on ferries connecting the islands, perhaps a slow pace just like that of the islands would not be such a bad idea. After all, with the “passport”, you can always return to the islands during the festival for more!
Let the ferry take you to the wonder-islands!
Spring | March 20th [Sun] — April 17th [Sun]
Summer | July 18th [Mon] — September 4th [Sun]
Autumn | October 8th [Sat] — November 6th [Sun]
Access: From Honshu, use Uno Port (Okayama Prefecture)/From Shikoku, use Takamatsu Port (Kagawa Prefecture).