Island art-hop in Japan
While many might recognize the giant yellow Yayoi Kusama pumpkin that sits on the edge of a pier on the island of Naoshima, few dig deeper to uncover the emerging contemporary art scene on the islands of the Seto Inland Sea in the south of Japan. The inhabitants once made a living out of fishing and seaweed farming, but these days it’s all about contemporary art. The islands’ flagship event is the Setouchi Triennale (Jul 18-Sep 4;
Oct 8- Nov 6, setouchi-artfest.jp), featuring more than 200 art installations and museums spread across the islands.
Kick off your island-hopping at Takamatsu Port, where you can bike past British sculptor Julian Opie’s cartoonish stone sculptures. Go on a scavenger hunt for curious artworks at the least expected places, such as a palm tree girdled by a large buoy in front of an abandoned elementary school in Megijima, or head to Naoshima Bath— a crossover between a bathhouse and an art installation, in which visitors can take a hot bath amongst its chaotic décor, including a stuffed baby elephant.