There is nothing much on the island.
But perhaps that is why I want to go there again and again. When I first landed on it in 2009, it was embarked upon because I had a long break, and long breaks appear to be when you go to places a salaried employee might not have time for in her annual 2-week trip. Naoshima isn’t really a breeze to get to, and you need to plan your train schedule with the timetable for the ferry to Naoshima. An art island with outdoor installations, spectacular museums, and plenty of nature sounds like a good day trip. There was no Setouchi Triennale, and hardly anyone around. I remember that at that time, the wisdom was that there was little accommodation other than the pricey Benesse House so please plan properly and don’t miss your ferry. I remember reading somewhere that there were no ATMs, and please don’t frighten the old people because they are not used to seeing foreigners. If you can be nice enough to, please bow to the elderly.
I fell in love with the place, and though I had to leave within the day because that was how I planned it, I left contented. I told myself I had left myself enough unseen for another trip and a little bit of mystery is always good for the imagination.
When I next took the ferry again to Naoshima, it was 2013. This time I was with Siew, and there were plans for island-hopping, and two nights’ stay – one in a yurt, and one in a nice room in Benesse House Park. When we got onto the ferry, we were grinning our wide grins, and running about the ferry like little children.
Naoshima was as pretty as ever, and I was glad to see that more people were wandering around. I think wandering around Naoshima is a pretty good way of improving your quality of life. Hopefully, most people feel that too. I visited more art houses this time (I only saw two the last time), and we walked, ran into a ice-cream shop, poked into alleys.
We love the Seto Inland Sea so. We ate well, we slept well, and all that we saw, heard, imagined, tasted and relished touched our souls in intangible but palpable ways.
You must go to Naoshima.