Naoshima Island: Where Art Collides with Nature



A warm breeze rustles your hair and caresses your skin. You gaze out at the water reflecting a perfectly blue sky. Note the rise and fall of distant islands on the horizon. You knew Naoshima was the art island of the world but had no idea the art had been inspired by such a peaceful, beauty-filled environment. In fact, while here, you are inspired to rent a bicycle—a popular way to travel the humble island—so you can explore at your own pleasant pace. It’s always the perfect day for exploration on Naoshima.

Art & Architecture

Not long ago, Japanese business leader Soichiro Fukutake launched the Naoshima Project in an attempt to unify the beauty of nature, art, and architecture all in one area. The result is a paradise called Benesse Art Site Naoshima, incorporating galleries across the island filled with art by Andy Warhol, Claude Monet, Lee Ufan, and hundreds of other world-renowned artists. Where there aren’t traditional galleries, there are residential houses restored as walk-in pieces of art at the Art House Project, a converted pachinko palace, and even a bathhouse dedicated to design and wonder. Art and architecture are so closely entwined on Naoshima that it is hard to discern where one stops and the other begins, making for an Alice in Wonderland–like journey that continues to dazzle and amaze.


After venturing to Naoshima’s many museums and taking a dip in the most artistic bathhouse in the world, there’s only one place to go next: Benesse House, a hotel coexisting among art, architecture, and nature. That synergy means enjoying natural beauty, effortless design, and carefully constructed rooms displaying art. An art escape that embraces nature and tumbles comfortably with modern design, the hotel has four distinct themes for its rooms: museum, oval, park, and beach. While each offers a unique energy to enjoy with all your senses, it is, as a whole, a facility to refresh your thoughts and delight your mind.

A visit to Naoshima is a part of our art-focused trip in our Japan Insider Collection and can be added to a Japan Custom Journey.


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Art, DestinationsMarie Pilaud