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    • Spring
      • spring outdoor japan shinano discovery

        2022 Spring Tours and Travel

        Check out these green season tours and experiences across Japan!
        video

        Finding the Flow from Kansai to Kochi

        Shikoku’s many mountains, valleys and proximity to the ocean has made it a hidden gem for rafting, kayaking and canyoning enthusiasts willing to take a step or two further from the Golden Route of Kyoto and Osaka.

        Solace and Giant Salamanders in Akiota

        Just beyond Hiroshima City is a tranquil outdoor destination home to some of Japan's last remaining oosanshouo, the elusive giant salamander.

        2022 Art Events in Japan

        Two of Japan's biggest art events return this year: the Setouchi Triennale on the Seto Inland Sea Islands and Niigata's Echigo Tsumari Art Field.
        Kyoto Oni Trail Outdoor Japanvideo

        The Oni Trail: Hiking Coastal Kyoto

        The mystical oni is prevalent in Japanese children’s stories, usually as a way to scare kids straight. Adventure Travel Kyoto is shedding a new light on this folklore and developing a new hiking route in the countryside of Kyoto.
    • Summer
      • Washi Papermaking Kochi Shikoku Outdoor Japan

        Following the Paper Trail in Kochi

        Discover the traditional art of washi papermaking in Kochi with artist Rogier Uitenboogaart.
        Climbing Mt. Fuji Outdoor Japan

        Peaking in 2021: Climbing Mt. Fuji

        Thinking of climbing Mt. Fuji this summer? We talk to Mt. Fuji guides on best practices for scaling Japan's highest mountain.

        Japan Camping Guide

        Check out our picks all the way from Hokkaido to the Okinawa Islands and then plot your perfect Japan camping adventure.
        Japan's Digital Nomads Van Life in Japan

        Japan’s Digital Nomads

        Adventure couple Ruth Aisling and Bappa Shota explores Japan by van.
    • Autumn
      • Pow Bar Founder Megumi Scott

        Beyond the Brand: Pow Bar

        An interview with Megumi Scott, the founder of Niseko brand Pow Bar.
        Churamura Okinawa Sea Turtle Marine Conservation

        Churamura: Footprints in the Sand

        Churamura, an NPO in Okinawa, work to conserve marine life and protect endangered sea turtles in Japan's southernmost prefecture.
        Kawazu

        Fall in Love with Kawazu

        Enjoy waterfall hikes and hot springs, beautiful beaches and delicious seafood in Kawazu on the western coast of Izu Peninsula.
    • Winter
      • Spring Skiing in Japan 2022

        It may be spring in Japan but you can still ski in select ski resorts open all the way to Golden Week.
        Indy Pass Outdoor Japan Tohoku

        The Resistance

        The Indy Pass arrives in Japan to bring avid riders to local resorts that punch above their weight class and offer varied terrain.
        Shinano Town Outdoor Japan

        Go Deep into Shinano

        Discover Snow Country in Shinano Town in northern Nagano, popular for its deep powder but also its mountainous winter scenery.
        Evergreen Outdoor Center Japan

        Japan Snow Guide: Winter 2022 Events & No...

        Check out the latest news and winter events held at ski resorts all over Japan in 2022!
        video

        Hachimantai’s Powder History

        Discover powder and ski culture deep in Tohoku at Hachimantai.
    • Near Tokyo
    • Near Kyoto
      • video

        Finding the Flow from Kansai to Kochi

        Shikoku’s many mountains, valleys and proximity to the ocean has made it a hidden gem for rafting, kayaking and canyoning enthusiasts willing to take a step or two further from the Golden Route of Kyoto and Osaka.
        Kyoto Oni Trail Outdoor Japanvideo

        The Oni Trail: Hiking Coastal Kyoto

        The mystical oni is prevalent in Japanese children’s stories, usually as a way to scare kids straight. Adventure Travel Kyoto is shedding a new light on this folklore and developing a new hiking route in the countryside of Kyoto.
    • All Regions
    • Article Map
    • Ocean and Beach
      • Solace and Giant Salamanders in Akiota

        Just beyond Hiroshima City is a tranquil outdoor destination home to some of Japan's last remaining oosanshouo, the elusive giant salamander.
        Churamura Okinawa Sea Turtle Marine Conservation

        Churamura: Footprints in the Sand

        Churamura, an NPO in Okinawa, work to conserve marine life and protect endangered sea turtles in Japan's southernmost prefecture.
        Kawazu

        Fall in Love with Kawazu

        Enjoy waterfall hikes and hot springs, beautiful beaches and delicious seafood in Kawazu on the western coast of Izu Peninsula.
        Kaiyu Kochi Shikoku Outdoor Japan

        Snorkeling, Surfing and Sustainability in Koch...

        Enjoy the clear waters of Kochi by snorkeling and surfing while staying at a refurbished hotel committed to sustainability.
    • River and Lake
      • video

        Finding the Flow from Kan...

        Shikoku’s many mountains, valleys and proximity to the ocean has made it a hidden gem for rafting, kayaking and canyoning enthusiasts willing to take a step or two further from the Golden Route of Kyoto and Osaka.

        Solace and Giant Salamand...

        Just beyond Hiroshima City is a tranquil outdoor destination home to some of Japan's last remaining oosanshouo, the elusive giant salamander.
        sawa nobori wakasa fukuivideo

        Shower Climbing High Abov...

        Learn about the uniquely Japanese activity of sawanobori, navigating up rivers and waterfalls, in the Wakasa region of Fukui Prefecture.
        Iriomote Yamaneko Outdoor Japan

        Iriomote’s Endanger...

        Iriomote Island, one of Japan's last untouched wild places, is home to the endangered yamaneko wildcat.
        Iriomote Outdoor Japan

        Iriomote Activity Guide

        A guide to Iriomote's outdoors, hiking, diving, cultural experiences and accommodation.
    • Mountain and Land
    • Sky
    • Snow and Ice
      • Spring Skiing in Japan 2022

        It may be spring in Japan but you can still ski in select ski resorts open all the way to Golden Week.
        Indy Pass Outdoor Japan Tohoku

        The Resistance

        The Indy Pass arrives in Japan to bring avid riders to local resorts that punch above their weight class and offer varied terrain.
        Shinano Town Outdoor Japan

        Go Deep into Shinano

        Discover Snow Country in Shinano Town in northern Nagano, popular for its deep powder but also its mountainous winter scenery.
        Evergreen Outdoor Center Japan

        Japan Snow Guide: Winter 2022 Events & No...

        Check out the latest news and winter events held at ski resorts all over Japan in 2022!
        video

        Hachimantai’s Powder History

        Discover powder and ski culture deep in Tohoku at Hachimantai.
    • Travel
      • sawa nobori wakasa fukuivideo

        Shower Climbing High Above Wakasa Bay

        Learn about the uniquely Japanese activity of sawanobori, navigating up rivers and waterfalls, in the Wakasa region of Fukui Prefecture.
        Kyoto Oni Trail Outdoor Japanvideo

        The Oni Trail: Hiking Coastal Kyoto

        The mystical oni is prevalent in Japanese children’s stories, usually as a way to scare kids straight. Adventure Travel Kyoto is shedding a new light on this folklore and developing a new hiking route in the countryside of Kyoto.

        Market Watch: Oiso’s Shishimai Marche

        Check out this farmers' market in the beachside town of Oiso.
        Shinano Town Outdoor Japan

        Go Deep into Shinano

        Discover Snow Country in Shinano Town in northern Nagano, popular for its deep powder but also its mountainous winter scenery.
        Protect our Winter POW Japan

        Protecting Japan’s Pow

        Professional snowboarder and environmentalist Goro Komatsu fights climate change with Protect our Winters Japan.
    • Food and Drinks
      • sawa nobori wakasa fukuivideo

        Shower Climbing High Above Wakasa Bay

        Learn about the uniquely Japanese activity of sawanobori, navigating up rivers and waterfalls, in the Wakasa region of Fukui Prefecture.
        Kyoto Oni Trail Outdoor Japanvideo

        The Oni Trail: Hiking Coastal Kyoto

        The mystical oni is prevalent in Japanese children’s stories, usually as a way to scare kids straight. Adventure Travel Kyoto is shedding a new light on this folklore and developing a new hiking route in the countryside of Kyoto.

        Market Watch: Oiso’s Shishimai Marche

        Check out this farmers' market in the beachside town of Oiso.
        Shinano Town Outdoor Japan

        Go Deep into Shinano

        Discover Snow Country in Shinano Town in northern Nagano, popular for its deep powder but also its mountainous winter scenery.
        Protect our Winter POW Japan

        Protecting Japan’s Pow

        Professional snowboarder and environmentalist Goro Komatsu fights climate change with Protect our Winters Japan.
    • Races and Events
      • spring outdoor japan shinano discovery

        2022 Spring Tours and Travel

        Check out these green season tours and experiences across Japan!

        2022 Art Events in Japan

        Two of Japan's biggest art events return this year: the Setouchi Triennale on the Seto Inland Sea Islands and Niigata's Echigo Tsumari Art Field.

        2022 Spring Races & Festivals

        The start of the green season is a great time to start trail running, cycling and hiking. Check out these races, outdoor events and traditional festivals held this spring.
        Evergreen Outdoor Center Japan

        Japan Snow Guide: Winter 2022 Events & No...

        Check out the latest news and winter events held at ski resorts all over Japan in 2022!

Art in the Inland Sea

This summer, from July 18 to Sept. 4, one of Japan’s most interesting art festivals is back. The Setouchi Triennale Art Festival features contemporary art against the backdrop of Japan’s Seto Inland Sea. The festival, held every three years, has grown from humble beginnings on Naoshima Island when the Art House Project converted traditional Japanese houses into venues for modern art.

You can still see these exhibits, such as James Turrell’s “Backside of the Moon,” during the art festival. Yet, what started as a quaint celebration of art back in the 1990s has grown into a full- blown world-class exhibition spread over 12 islands in the Seto Inland Sea in Kagawa and Okayama prefectures.

The Setouchi International Art Festival, or more simply called the Triennale, is a great opportunity to appreciate art and also a unique way to experience Japan’s traditional island culture. Each island has its own distinct feel, traditions and people.

Ogijima, with a population of a little more than 200, has a small intimate atmosphere and is packed with exhibits. The island people used to raise cows, which they then sent to the mainland for use in the rice fields for plowing. When the farmers were finished with the plowing, they’d send the cows back to their island home. The much larger Teshima has a rural feel and is known for its tanada, terraced rice fields.

If you’re interested in Japanese folktales, be sure to visit Megijima, nicknamed “Oni Island,” as it is believed to be the destination of the Peach Boy in the legend of “Momotaro-san.” There is even a cave (with art in it, of course), ostensibly the lair of the slain dragon and his hoarded treasure. Island hopping from one art exhibit to the next may seem daunting so, before you set sail, here are some tips to make your trip a little easier.

Uno or Takamatsu?

If you’re coming to the festival from points north of Okayama, such as Osaka, Nagoya or Tokyo, you’ll probably start your trip at Uno Port in Okayama Prefecture. Take the Sanyo Shinkansen to Okayama Station and change to the Uno Line to Uno Station.

If you’re coming from Hiroshima or points south, or if you’re already in Shikoku, you may prefer to start your trip from Takamatsu Port in Kagawa Prefecture. Both ports offer information centers where you can get maps, ferry schedules and information about the festival.

Art Festival Passport

For ¥5,000, you can buy a “passport” that will gain you entry into most of the exhibits. The exception is some of the museums which require an extra entry fee.

There is a mixture of indoor and outdoor exhibits and, if you are happy just seeing the outdoor exhibits (such as Yayoi Kusama’s pumpkins, Sou Fujimoto’s Naoshima Pavillion, Keisuke Yamaguchi’s Walking Ark, etc.), you don’t actually need a passport. If you plan on visiting just a few of the indoor exhibits, you can pay individually, and most are just a few hundred yen each.

Many of the indoor museums are not included in the passport so, if it’s hot and you find an air conditioned museum more attractive, you might want to forego the passport and just pay for the museums on an individual basis.

Some examples are the Lee Ulfan Museum (10 a.m. to 6 p.m., admission ¥1,030), Teshima Art Museum (10 a.m. to 5 p.m., admission ¥1,540) and Naoshima’s Chichu Art Museum which features Claude Monet’s waterlilies (10 a.m. to 6 p.m., admission ¥2,060). While all these require separate entry fees, you can get a slight discount with a passport.

Three-Day Triennale Pass

The three-day ferry pass (¥2,500, children ¥1,200) will save you money only if you plan on visiting several islands over three or more days. However, it would be prudent to plan for just one island per day (or two smaller islands), as many islands are not interconnected, and different ferry companies go to different islands.

So, if you’re on Naoshima and want to go to Ogijima, there is no direct ferry between the two. Thus, you’ll have to go from Naoshima back to the mainland (Takamatsu) and wait for the next ferry leaving for Ogijima. This can take up significant amounts of time and should be factored in when planning which islands to visit on your trip. Why Not Stay a While? In addition to the high-end Benesse House accommodation, there is an array of traditional minshuku, ryokan and budget guesthouses available. If you decide to stay at a minshuku or ryokan on one of the islands, you’ll have the opportunity to eat fresh local seafood and enjoy the exhibits in the evening, night-time and early morning without crowds.

Since most ferries run between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., you’ll also have sunrise and sunset photo opportunities for outdoor exhibits.

Avoid Monday (if possible)

On Mondays, many museums and some exhibits are closed. If the Monday is a national holiday, the day off will be moved to the following Tuesday instead.

If you can’t make the summer session of the art festival, there is another session in autumn from Oct. 8 to Nov. 6 featuring different islands. For more information on the Setouchi Art Festival seasons and the festival in general, visit their website.

Getting Around the Islands

It’s possible to walk to all the exhibits on smaller islands such as Ogijima and Megijima. Larger islands such as Naoshima offer bicycle rental, which is a fun way to get around faster and further. Other islands such as Teshima and Shodoshima are too big (or hilly) to get around easily on a bicycle, so taking the bus makes more sense.

Renting a car is a good option as well, but best to reserve in advance. Keep in mind that buses will add extra cost. Buses on Teshima, for example, cost a at fee of ¥200 for each ride, and you’ll be getting on and off the bus as it circles the island to the different exhibits.

WEB CONNECTION

Web site: www.setouchi-artfest.jp/en/about
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ArtSetouchiEN

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