We have come to the final day of my Kawaga trip. For this last day, we visited Naoshima, another island. This island requires a 1h ferry ride from Takamatsu ferry terminal, and the ferry only operates on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and national holidays.
Naoshima is located along the Seto Inland sea, in between Kagawa Prefecture and Okayama Prefecture. It is actually geographically much nearer to Uno, Okayama, and the ferry takes only 20 minutes, available daily. However, the island is administratively part of Kagawa Prefecture.
This island is best known for being home to several famous art museums, and is one of the important sites for the Setouchi Triennale – a contemporary art festival which takes place once every 3 years. The next installment of Setouchi Triennale will happen just next year in 2019. During the festival, 12 islands on the Seto Inland Sea, and 2 ports (Takamatsu and Uno) would come together to host this event. Art enthusiasts from all over Japan and all over the world visit this festival which showcases artwork from Japanese and international artists.
Even during non-festival period, Naoshima also attracts art tourism with their famous museums – Chichu Museum, Benesse Art House, Lee Ufan Museum ,Art House Project and many more.
For non-art enthusiasts (yes that’s me), these may sound really foreign to you, but one name most Singaporeans would be familiar with is Yayoi Kusama, famous for her pumpkins and polka dots. Her artwork can be famously found in Naoshima too.
Without a doubt, this Yellow Pumpkin by Yayoi Kusama is one of the most iconic features of Naoshima. It is located near the Benesse Art House museum and you won’t miss it en route.
I am no art expert but this giant yellow pumpkin against the backdrop of Seto Inland Sea is just so beautiful.
So the first museum we visited was the Benesse Art House, and they did not allow photography indoors so I do not have pictures to show, but the museum is quite pleasant and spacious with a few exhibits spread out around the premises. Only certain outdoor area allows photo taking.
This rock is located in an outdoor section and is probably the only exhibit which allows photos, just that you’re not allowed to put your shoes on it!
There’s an outdoor terrace which was great for photos as well. Beautiful views from the top of the museum (yes I know this is not the main point of coming to a museum like this, but I really am not into art).
Admission to the museum is ¥1030 per adult. Children 15 and under can access free of charge.
Benesse House Museum
Gotanji, Naoshima, Kagawa 7613110 Japan
The next museum we visit was the Chichu Art Museum. This one is different as it’s a semi outdoor museum, where the building itself is an art. When see from the sky above, you can see how the museum is actually located underground, with only a few areas exposed out of the ground. Yes, it is as complex as it sounds. This is art.
This museum is said to be designed to be underground so they do not disrupt the natural landscape of the island. The discipline within this museum is a whole new level and it can be quite unsettling to those who are not used to it. The kind of art work displayed here is frankly, quite hard to appreciate if you’re not into contemporary art, but those who love it will love it. Admission fee is ¥2060 here and there is actually a long queue for the tickets!
They are really strict about having no pictures so this picture is the only one we have, taken outdoors and it has to be facing outward (no pictures of their building allowed).
Chichu Art Museum
3449-1 Naoshima, Kagawa 7613110 Japan
Frankly I am the worst person to ask about art museums because art and history is probably my least favourite things to see when travelling.
A random art site for photos near the ferry terminal. It would have been nicer to visit Naoshima if the weather wasn’t so hot (brutal Japanese summer heat we’re talking about!) because there’s lots of outdoor places for photos.
This is the other Yayooi Kusama pumpkin, her Red Pumpkin, located near the ferry terminal. This pumpkin is bigger and you can actually go inside!
For the afternoon, we took part in another cultural activity – Mizuhiki making. Mizuhiki (水引) is an ancient Japanese art form that uses a special cord created from rice paper, that is tightly wound, starched to give it stiffness, and then colored.
Initially I didn’t get what was special about it, until I learnt that it was made from paper. This is definitely something we cannot find in Singapore!
Mizuhiki plays an important role in Japanese culture as a symbol of affection, warmth, and togetherness. I’ve always admired Japanese traditional handmade products because they are really dedicated to the craft. I got to try pottery making the last time and I’m glad to have different handicraft experience this trip! A group session like this would cost around ¥2000/pax subject to advanced reservation.
CLAIR has arranged for a Mizuhiki master to teach us and we got to make a braided bracelet, choosing our own colours. I selected baby pink and holographic baby pink and I love it!
I purchased matching earrings which were handmade by Master Yuya Tsuchida! I am so pleased with my creation and my purchase. Master Tsuchida also gifted us Mizukihi bookmarks and of course I selected the most matching colour! Master Tsuchida will be coming to Singapore Isetan Scotts as part of a Kagawa fair in October, bringing his craft closer to us. Do not miss it!
Tsuchida Mizuhiki Studio
(Location to be arranged)
For our final dinner, we had almost everyone involved in this trip come together – representatives from CLAIR, our translators, staff from ABC Cooking etc for a authentic casual Izakaya meal of Chicken in Bone, Honetsukidori 骨付き鳥 at Honetsukidori Ranmaru 骨付とり欄丸.
The experience was even made livelier because it’s Charlotte‘s birthday and we had a mini express celebration over chicken and beer!
Honetsukidori is a kind of dish that is unique to Kagawa Prefecture, originating from Marugame City. It is the second most famous cuisine in Kagawa, only behind Sanuki Udon!
And I kid you not, this is probably the best (non-fried) chicken ever. It’s so juicy and flavourful and the skin reasonably crispy 😍 (for non-fried chicken). They offer 2 versions here – a chewy but stronger flavour older chicken and a soft but milder young chicken. I chose the softer young chicken and it was soooo good. Definitely having it again when I return to Shikoku region one day, hopefully soon!
Honetsukidori Ranmaru 骨付とり欄丸
7-4 Daikumachi, Takamatsu, Kagawa Prefecture
And that marks the end of this short but eventful Kagawa trip. I is a no brainer to say that YES I want to visit Kagawa again. I hope I can come back soon again! Big thank you to CLAIR and ABC Cooking for making this trip happen!
Do check out day 1 – 3 of my Kagawa trip: