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Art Island Hopping Through Megijima, Ogijima, and Shodoshima

Seto Inland Sea is filled with small fishing islands hosting contemporary art. Home to the Setouchi Art Triennale, these islands have been converted into surreal displays where mountainous nature meets the best in modern art. While Naoshima and Teshima might get all the attention, the smaller islands should not be overlooked. Ogijima, Megijima, and Shodoshima can all be accessed from Takamatsu port and are a little less crowded due to the popularity of the neighboring islands.

  • Megijima Island

    Megijima Island

    Megijima Island

    Megijima is the closest island from Takamatsu port, which is about 20 minutes away. The 4kilometer long island is best known for the Japanese traditional folklore of Momotaro but its reputation has recently changed due to its participation in the Setouchi Art Triennale. “Mecon” is an ever evolving artwork on the island, that has taken residence in an abandoned elementary school. The artist, Shinro Ohtake, created this artwork to preserve the history of Megijima. Mecon is a never ending project and Ohtake will continue to add sculptures every triennale.

    Megijima Island

    Megijima Island

    Designed in a vintage New York style by Yoichiro Yoda, the “Island Theater Megi” is an interactive piece where both the films and the theater itself are pieces of art. Both the interior and exterior are painted in American-style pop art, contrasting with the ever growing greenery surrounding the former abandoned warehouse.

    Megijima Island

    Megijima Island

    The ote, or stone walls, surround the island. These walls protect the inhabitants from the ferocious winds and colossal waves of the Seto Inland Sea. Winter is the worst season for storms but every other season has tame, Mediterranean-style weather. Be sure to explore the island by bicycle for a leisurely ride along the coast.

    Megijima Island

    Megijima Island

    The ferry from Takamatsu to Megijima also goes to Ogijima, a 15 minute voyage. If traveling from Takamatsu, the sail takes about 40 minutes.

  • Ogijima Island

    Ogijima Island

    Ogijima Island

    Ogijima is smaller than Megijima, at only 2 kilometers long. This mountainous land is best known for its friendly cats and the sculptures from the triennale. “Ogijima’s Soul”, created by Jaume Plensa, greets the ferry as it arrives. On clear days, the roof spells out a message that can be read on the cerulean sea.

    Ogijima Island

    Ogijima Island

    “Walking Ark” by Keisuke Yamaguchi is another outdoor work. The white and blue pattern echoes the ocean esthetic and the piece appears to be walking off into the water. The sculpture was inspired by both Noah’s Ark and the 3/11 disaster in Tohoku.

    Ogijima Island

    Ogijima Island

    Oginotoriko is a restaurant and exhibition space serving pizza from Pizzeria al Centro, a popular Italian restaurant in Takamatsu. The restaurant is hidden within one of the “wallalley” pieces, which were designed by Rikuji Makabe to turn abandoned, industrial walls into vibrant exteriors. While the restaurant might be difficult to find, it is well worth the journey. The friendly staff speaks English and they offer a variety of pizzas and alcoholic drinks.

    Ogijima can easily be explored in a few hours and it is the perfect addition to a trip to Megijima.

  • Shodoshima

    Shodoshima

    Shodoshima

    Shodoshima island is one of the larger art islands and it is replete with restaurants and places to stay. It is also easily accessible through its six different ports. The Tonosho ferry that runs between the island and Okayama stops at Tonosho terminal, which houses the Art no Show Terminal exhibition room on the second floor. Art no Show is a small space featuring a variety of exhibitions that change throughout the year. The space combines the convenience of the ferry terminal with art, making it easy to kill time before the next ride.

    Shodoshima

    Shodoshima

    Designed by Choi Jeong Hwa, the “Gift of the Sun” combines two important aspects of Shodoshima: the ocean and olives. Due to its year round warm climate, Shodoshima was chosen as the birthplace for the Japanese olive. Moreover, almonds have been grown there since 1908. The “Gift of the Sun” pays respects to Shodoshima’s history while depicting its current status as an art island.

    Shodoshima

    Shodoshima

    MeiPAM museum calls itself a “maze town.” It’s a large area with a museum, cafe, gift shop, and bookstore. It has three main buildings, each housing different art exhibitions. The museum town invites visitors to get lost in their maze and discover the artwork for themselves. Pop into one room and exit out into another random room. MeiPAM is interactive and easy to get lost in, so be sure to invest some time!

    Shodoshima

    Shodoshima

    Since Shodoshima is around 20 kilometers long, it is best accessed by rental bicycle. Rental shops are aplenty and their prices are competitive. The island is not as hilly as Ogijima and it is easy to access each of its ports by bike.

    女木島
    Address
    香川県高松市
    Phone
  • Ogijima
    Address
    Kagawa Pref. Takamatsushi Ogichou
    Phone
    0878730002
    Shodoshima Island
    Address
    Kodo-cho, Shodojima-cho, Shodo-gun, Kagawa prefecture
    Phone
    MeiPAM
    Address
    Kagawa Pref. Shouzuguntonoshouchou Kou 405
    Phone
    0879620221
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