Naoshima, Japan

Naoshima Part III | Wrap Up

Reduce, reuse, recycle could be the mantra of the islands’ residents

Perhaps what makes the Naoshima experience so memorable is the combination of sublime contemporary art and architecture with the traditional fishing villages and shrines. We were struck by the sensitivity to and respect for the environment that pervades these islands and is manifested throughout.

Hiroshi Sugimoto, Naoshima, Appropriate Proportion 2002
Hiroshi Sugimoto’s “Appropriate Proportions,” 2002

Hiroshi Sugimoto restored an Edo Period shrine and added a new superstructure in his 2002 work “Appropriate Proportion.” The optical glass staircase he designed links the main building to an underground stone chamber, in essence uniting heaven and earth.

Inujima, Benesse Art Site, Japan
Inujima Seirensho Art Museum

A short boat ride away, the Inujima Seirensho Art Museum is housed in an abandoned copper refinery. The museum’s architect, Hiroshi Sambuichi, used existing smokestacks and karami bricks (made from a byproduct of the refining process), along with solar, geothermal, and other natural energies to mitigate any burden on the environment.The artwork housed in within was created by Yukinori Yanagi who was inspired by the works of Yukio Mishima, a novelist who warned of the hazards innate in Japan’s process of modernization.

Karami, Inujima, Japan
Karami Bricks produced from copper refinery slag

special delivery

It is easy to explore Inujima on foot or on bike.  There are shrines, gardens and small farms as well as several of the art house projects seen on Naoshima.

Inujima Art House Project/S-Art House/Contactlens
Inujima Art House Project/S-Art House/Contactlens


Naoshima harbor and its fishing fleet – still the profession of many islanders

All good things come to an end and so it was with the magical week on Naoshima. I hope this and the two previous posts will inspire some readers to make the pilgrimage.

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