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Naoshima Art House Project – Part 2

In my first post I shared with you my experience when I visited Go’o Shrine and Kadoya. Now I will tell you about the other 4 houses – Gokaisho, Haisha, Ishibashi and Minamidera.

Gokaisho designed by Yoshihiro Suda. Gokaisho litterally means a place to meet and play go – a traditional Japanese board game. But don’t expect to see the game being played inside the house. The house features the artists Tree of Spring sculpture inspired by a painting called Falling Camellia by Hayami Gyoshu. The sculpture is a actually flowers spread through out one of the tatami rooms. There is actually two rooms in Gokaisho, one with flowers spread through out it while the other has none. It also has a small garden with a single camellia plant.

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Gokaisho by Yoshihiro Suda

Haisha by Shinro Ohtake (also designed I♥湯) is I believe the largest of the Art Houses. Each room in the house features different art works. At the first floor you will find a room with dark walls, and find that there are pockets holes hidden from view. The other room with has a sculpture resembling a boat. The floors where made of glass with various items underneath it. Inside the house was a miniature statue of liberty that is as tall as the house. You can get a closer look at the statue at the second floor. The exterior of the house was a unique combination of old junk materials – its like a house made of scrap metal.

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Haisha by Shinro Ohtake – the name literally means dentist. Used to be a home and office of a local dentist.

Ishibashi used to be the home of a prominent family in Naoshima. Now it features two art works of Hiroshi Senju. The Garden of Kū which is found across the houses garden. The landscape inspired painting by the Setouchi region. And The Falls which looks like a waterfalls. The Garden of Ku painting was not as grand as The Falls. That at first when I came in to the house, I thought that the main thing to see was the garden landscape not until I heard a private tour guide explaining it to a tourist. The Falls on the other hand need no introduction, it was placed inside a dark room where one could hardly see the flooring making the painting effect more dramatic. I wish I could show you an image of it but unfortunately just like in all the other houses visitors are not allowed to take pictures.

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Ishibashi Entrance

And last we went to Minamidera. Actually we came here first but just to get a priority ticket of sort, since only a limited number of guest are allowed inside at a given time. This house is designed by Ando Tadao who has designed several art structures all over Naoshima. He even designed the famous Tokyo SkyTree. Inside tourist will find James Turrell’s “Backside of the Moon” a very intriguing art piece that plays with your eyes. Honestly of all the house that are a part of the Art House Project, I think this house is the most interesting and I think would leave the best impression. The tour starts out in an all pitch-dark room where you will be guided to a bench. I wondered at first how guides managed to do all those thing in total darkness. But once you get the hang of it, you realize the secret of what makes this house special. I wont tell you what it is so that it wont spoil the fun of it. But I really suggest you come visit this place it was really worth the wait or shall I say we really did save the best for last.

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Minamidera

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Minamidera

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Minamidera – Hall way

Visiting 6 of the 7 houses that make up the Art House Project in Honmura was really a unique way to experience Japan.  Most tourist I guess imagine coming here to experience seeing Old Japan, like temples and geisha’s or maybe experience there ever growing unique pop culture. Seeing Naoshima gave me a new image of Japan – something new, something out of the box – Truly a very out of this world experience.

For more information about the Art House Project, please visit their official website.

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