Culture Yourself in Naoshima

Japan is a country with many islands and they have some of the best outdoor activities you could ever wish for in a country, with many islands catering to different types of activities. Many smaller islands sustain themselves on an economy built around tourism and become a tourist attraction in that way.

Naoshima is one of those islands. On paper, Naoshima Island is an island town under the jurisdiction of the Kagawa District in the prefecture of the same name. Geographically, the island is located in the Seto Inland Sea, which can be found in the south-western part of the nation.

To be frank, Naoshima is tiny. With a population somewhere between 3000 and 4000, the island measures an area of just over 14 square kilometers, which are 5.5 square miles for users of the non-metric system. As mentioned earlier, islands such as these tend to have an economy built around tourism and Naoshima is the same, well known for its numerous contemporary art museums.

The island is home to some of the world’s greatest temporary artists’ works, mainly in thanks to the Benesse Corporation – one of the largest companies in Japan which has directed the construction and operation of the museums since the late 1960s. James Turell, Walter De Maria, Claude Monet, Tadao Ando – all names large in the community, and a lot of their works can be found right here on a tiny island in the south of Japan.

One of the most popular museums on the island is the Chichu Art Museum, which can quite literally be translated to museum “in the earth.” Designed by the aforementioned Ando, the buildings themselves are arts of work to appreciate and a dream for any architecture student and connoisseur, regardless of what’s held inside the buildings. In combination with the scenery of the island, Naoshima is one of the best places to visit for those that wish to experience real modern culture in an outdoor setting.

Outside of the art and tourism industries, Naoshima can attribute its sizable population to its association with Mitsubishi Materials, which has one of its largest refineries located on the island, further stabilizing the economy.

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