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Port of Miyanoura: Visiting the West Coast of Naoshima

When you say Naoshima as a tourist one would automatically think of its most famous landmarks, the big red or yellow pumpkins you would find by its shore. But more than this two landmarks, it is home to a collection of world renowned contemporary art galleries and exhibits. I must admit I was not attracted to the art galleries this island is famous for but rather I was more excited on seeing this giant pumpkins I often see on images linked to Naoshima. But after visiting the place, I realize that there was more than just pumpkins that attract huge number of tourist yearly to visit this place over and over again.

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Yellow Pumpkin by Yayoi Kusama

The island is located in the Seto Inland Sea and is a part of Kagawa Prefecture though it is much nearer to Okayama Prefecture. It would take about 20 minutes boat ride from Uno port to reach the port of Miyanoura found on the island’s west coast. At the port of Miyanoura, tourist will be greeted by one of its famous landmark, the big red with black spots pumpkin (polka-dots pumpkin) – the other more famous Yellow polka-dot pumpkin sculpture is found on the southern side of the island near the Benesse House Museum and Hotel. Both where created by world renowned Pop Artist Yayoi Kusama. Well I don’t really understand why the yellow pumpkin is more famous then the red pumpkin sculpture found near the port. When the red pumpkin is a lot more exciting than its much more photographed sibling. It is a lot bigger and you can also get inside it where you would find colorful lights on the floor. The yellow pumpkin on the other hand was just a big ordinary pumpkin. Both pumpkin sculptures by the way are public artworks so they are free to enjoy.

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Departing at Uno Port

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Miyanoura Port

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Red Pumpkin by Yayoi Kusama

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Passenger Terminal at Miyanoura Port which also serves as information center and transportation hub.

Just a few minutes walk from the port you will find the famous I Love Yu (I♥湯) public bath house (sento). The name of the bath house is a play on the Japanese Kanji character for hot water which is read as YU(湯). This bath house is not just a bath house it is also an art facility created by Shinro Ohtake. I guess when you come to this bath house it is like bathing in art. But since I am no fan of communal bathing, I just enjoyed talking pictures of the building facade. Its walls where made out of tiles to resemble a mosaic. For more information about the I Love Yu please visit there website.

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I♥湯

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Bath House Entrance

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Mosaic like designs on the wall (I love Yu)

Another site though not as popular like the contemporary art museums and galleries that you would find near the port of Miyanoura is the 007 Museum. Yes you read it right 007 – James Bond. Well one would wonder why is there a museum dedicated to James Bond on this island famous for contemporary art. The museum started out as a part of the campaign for one of the James Bond novel’s entitled ‘The Man With the Red Tattoo’ to be made into a movie – the book featured the island of Naoshima. The museum features a number of James Bond Memorabilia – they even have a poster of ‘Quantum of Salace’ signed by Daniel Craig. Besides James Bond memorabilia, guest would be entertained to watch a mini-movie of sort entitled “From Naoshima with Love”. I know this museum is not as popular and as grand as the other galleries in the island but if you have extra minutes to do come and visit this place.

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007 Museum Entrance

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Pose as James Bond

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Memorabilia with Daniel Craig’s autograph

While standing in front of the Naoshima Bathhouse (I♥湯) there is a small restaurant you can’t ignore at all because of its deliciously smelling barbecue that is really mouth watering. This charming little house converted into a restaurant is called Shioya Diner. It’s interiors design is American inspired as well as there menu – it is like an american diner. You can order hot dogs, burgers and even taco’s. It prices are very cheap for a lunch set it would only cost you 800 yen with drinks.

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Taco Rice

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Cajun Chicken

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Ice Tea

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Beer

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Shioya Diner

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Shioya Diner Interior

On my next post, I will tell you about the other port in Naoshima – the port of Honmura where the famous Art Houses are located.

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