Naoshima Island is known as an art sanctuary for its many modern art museums, special architecture, and great sculptures. His most famous artifact is the yellow gourd sitting by the sea. The little island of art has been popular ever since it was introduced as a place you must visit once in your life in the famous magazine “Condé Nast Traveler”. In addition, a great artistic event called Setouchi Triennial Festival of Contemporary Art was held there in 2019, and Naoshima Island attracted the attention of many people from all over the world.
On the island, located between Hiroshima and Kyoto, you can see amazing works of art such as the red pumpkin and the yellow pumpkin by Yayoi Kusama, the most famous works of art you can see on Naoshima Island. You can also visit a number of unique museums like Chichu Art Museum either Benesse House-Museum. Of course, the island does not only consist of works of art, but also has a beautiful beach, mountains, and a cozy town. The island does not have an airport, so your only way to get there is by ferry. There are several ports where you can board the ferry to either of the two Naoshima ports. In this article we tell you the different ways to get to the island of Naoshima.
How to get to Naoshima Island
The easiest way to get to Naoshima is from Port One. You can get to this port from Okayama Station by train or bus. The other way is from Takamatsu port. It would be better if you take a plane from Tokyo or Okinawa. These are the details to get to Naoshima Island and we will introduce two different ways in more detail.
Via Okayama Station: The Cheapest Option
1. How to get to Okayama Station
From Kobe, Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, or Tokyo (cities east of Okayama)
The easiest and simplest way to get to Okayama Station is to take a bullet train. Unless you are coming directly from Osaka, you will need to change trains at Shin-Osaka. From Shin-Osaka Station, you can get to Okayama Station and it will take about 50 minutes to Nozomi, Mizuho or Sakura and 70 minutes to Hikari. If you have a JR pass, you must bring Sakura, Hikari or Kodama as they are included in the JR pass. In the table below, we have listed the different Shinkansen you can take in the cities east of Okayama.
From Hiroshima or Hakata (cities west of Okayama)
If you are coming from Hiroshima or any area west of Okayama, the best thing to do is take a bullet train. In the table below, we have listed the different Shinkansen you can take in the cities west of Okayama.
2. From Okayama Station to Port One
There are two ways to get to Puerto Uno:
Take the JR train to Uno station and walk to Uno port.
Taking the JR train is a bit cheaper than taking a bus, especially if you have the JR pass. Okayama Station is big, so be careful not to get lost! Take JR Line Uno and the exit route would be 5 to 8. It depends on the weather, but you can go directly to Uno station or you need to transfer to Chayamachi Station. Uno Port is a 5-minute walk from Uno Station.
It costs ¥590
Travel time approx. 50 minutes
Take Ryobi Express Bus from Okayama to Uno Port
The other way is to take the Ryobi Express bus from Okayama Station to Port One. The bus runs every 30 minutes, which is more frequent than the train. Take this express bus from bus stop no. 2. If you want to sit on the bus, get there early and wait a bit. Make sure you board the express bus and not the regular bus, the regular bus will take a longer route and add an extra 30 minutes to your trip.
It costs 660
Travel time approx. 50 minutes
3. Port One to Naoshima Island
Naoshima has two public ferry ports: Miyanoura et honor. The main port for tourists in Naoshima is the port of Miyanoura. From Uno Port, you can take a ferry (20 minutes) or speedboat (15 minutes) operated by Shikoku Kisen to Naoshima. You can take a ferry or a speedboat depending on the time, both cost the same.
It costs 300 (one way)
Travel time approx. 20 minutes
Check the schedule here
- On the speedboat, sometimes you will find it difficult to find enough space for your luggage.
- It’s 5 min. walk from the ticket office to the speedboat boarding docks.
- There are two ports in Naoshima. Port of Miyanoura and Port of Honmura.
The Port of Honmura is a much smaller port than the Port of Miyanoura and is located in Honmura, in the center of Naoshima, near Project Art Maison. However, the port itself is very small and mainly for residents. We recommend taking the boat to Miyanoura port, especially if it is your first time in Naoshima.
Via Takamatsu: the most comfortable route
1. Fly to Takamatsu Airport
You can fly from Haneda Airport or Narita Airport to Takamatsu Airport and go directly to Takamatsu Port. There are more than 10 daily flights from Haneda and a few more from Narita. The flight takes about 1 hour and will cost you 20,000 each way.
From Okinawa (Naha Airport), there is only one flight from Okinawa to Takamatsu Airport per day, which is also about 2 hours.
There are also some direct international flights to Takamatsu airport, including cities like Hong Kong, Taipei or Seoul.
2. From Takamatsu Airport to Takamatsu Port
After getting off the plane, you can take an airport limousine bus (operated by Kotoden Bus) to Takamatsu Station and from there walk a few minutes to Takamatsu Port.
It costs 780
Travel time approx. 65 minutes
Check the schedule here
Another option to get to the port of Takamatsu from Tokyo, Kyoto or other cities is to take the train. This is probably your best option when you have a JR Pass or when traveling from Kyoto. Most people enjoy it more this way due to its stunning ocean view, however it takes a bit longer. Your trip plan would look like this:
- Take the Shinkansen to Okayama.
- From Okayama, take the Marine Liner express to Takamatsu.
- From Takamatsu Station, walk a few minutes to Takamutsu Port.
3. From the port of Takamatsu to the island of Naoshima
There are fewer services operating from Takamatsu Port compared to Uno Port, but you can take a ferry or high-speed boat operated by Shikoku Kisen to Miyanoura Port in Naoshima.
The ferry costs ¥520 (one way)
Travel time approx. 50 minutes
The speedboat is 1220 (one way)
Travel time approx. 25 minutes
Check the two schedules here
How to get around Naoshima Island
To experience all the great things Naoshima Island has to offer, we recommend spending at least 1 night on the island. Although the island is only 5 km in diameter, there is so much to see and this way you can see it all and explore the island at a relaxed pace. There are several ways to get to the island, there are buses, taxis, or you can rent a bike or move on foot. As mentioned above, Naoshima is only about 5km in diameter, making it relatively easy to discover.
Naoshima’s museums and art installations are located in the southern part of the island. From the port of Miyanoura one or two buses an hour leave for Tsutsuji-so (the museum area), with a short stop at Nokyo-mae, where the Art House Project / ANDO MUSEUM is located. The trip from Miyanoura port to Tsutsuji-so takes about 15 minutes and the ticket will cost you 100. From the Tsutsuji-so bus stop, you can take a free shuttle to Benesse House, Lee Ufan Museum and the Museum of Chichu Art.
Our recommendation is to rent a bike, this way you can cover much more ground easily. There are many rental shops right across from the Miyanoura ferry pier that rent pedal bikes and electric bikes. The rental price will be around 500 (pedal bike) to 1500 (electric bike) for the full day. There are some hills that you will come across on your trip to Naoshima, so we recommend going for the electric bike!
Now you have a good idea how to plan your trip to the special contemporary art island of Naoshima. Will you add a trip to this special island to your travel plans? If you have any questions about Naoshima, please contact us. We are happy to help make your trip to Japan even more enjoyable!
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