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Naoshima Art House Project – Part 1

After visiting the port of Miyanoura on the west coast of the island of Naoshima. We decided to visit the port of Honmura located on the islands east coast. Home to the Art House Project.

To get around the island tourist could take various forms of transportation such as the bus or rental bikes. Rental bikes are conveniently located near the port of Miyanoura. The rent costs 500 yen for one day full use of the bike. Bikes are a great alternative to exploring the islands beautiful country side but be warned that the islands terrain is a bit on the hilly side so if your a not as adapt to riding a bike – I suggest you take the bus. A bus ride from Miyanoura to Honmura only cost 100 yen and would take about 10 minutes. Since there where no more available rental bikes when we went – yes bikes are very popular amongst tourist in the island so there are times when they run out of them. We decided to walk our way from Miyanoura to Honmura, though walking may be a bit time consuming but its a great way to enjoy the country side. Half way through our walk we met a very nice guy who offered us a free ride to Honmura. He was even nice enough to guide us about the Art House Project.

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Naoshima Elementary School – designed by Kazuhiro Ishii. Featuring Naoshima Architecture

The Art House Project is a collection of houses converted into art installations by different artists and architects. It consists of seven houses – Kadoya, Minamidera, Go’o Shrine, Ishibashi, Gokaisho, Haisha, Kinza. For 1,030 yen, you can already visit 6 out of the 7 houses (You have to get a reservation for Kinza – admission fee at Kinza is 510 yen). We decided to buy the multi-site ticket since it is more economical – for a single site ticket it would cost 410 yen per house. So buying the multi-site ticket would be a great money saver.

Art House Project

Art House Project – Multi-site ticket

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Art House Project Ticket – Map side

Nothing much was written about the houses on the ticket so we were not really aware of what to expect on each of our visit. Our first stop was Go’o Shrine which according to our multi-site pass was designed by Hiroshi Sugimoto. There was a line forming on the way to the shrine’s entrance, well actually you can’t see the entrance from the the line so we did not see much. Before we entered the guide handed us flash lights – I wondered what they were for. Excitedly we hurried our way down a narrow dark path not knowing what was there. When we got to the end of the tunnel and with our flash light at hand, we found glass like steps leading upward. We thought we could get near it but there was wooden barrier that prevented us from getting near it. Expecting there was more we hurriedly turned to the other side only to find other guest following us. As we went out of the tunnel we felt the feeling of wanting to see more or did we just miss something that we did not see that we decided to go back only to find there was nothing more than just those steps. We returned the flashlights and went to the Main Shrine. Apparently the shrine is connected to that underground room by a glass staircase- symbolism of uniting heaven and earth.

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Underground Chamber – Go’o Shrine

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Light at the end of the tunnel

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Main Shrine (Go’o Shrine) – Appropriate Proportion

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Glass staircase at the main shrine

Our next stop was Kodoya designed by Tatsuo Miyajima. Well from the outside the house was pretty ordinary. Once we got inside the guide told us to remove our shoes and was directed into a dark room filled with blinking digital numbers with different colors counting from 0 to 9 repeatedly under a pond called the Sea of Time 98. On your way out, you will then see another clock like display known as Naoshima’s counter Window.

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Kadoya by Tatsuo Miyajima

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Naoshima’s Counter Window – Kadoya

On my next blog I will tell you about my experience in Gokaisho, Haisha, Ishibashi and Minamidera.

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