Megijima Art Guide

 

Locally, Megijima is mostly known for its beach, as it is basically Takamatsu’s beach as you’ll quickly realize if you visit the island from mid-July to late August. It is also sometimes referred to as Onigashima, the Oni Island from the legend of Momotaro, as the island from the legend may or may not have been based on Megijima (the island residents, seeing the potential for tourists weren’t so cautious, they stated that it was, end of discussion, some even tried to officially change the name of the island, but didn’t succeed). And since 2010, Megijima has also been the home of a certain number of pieces from Art Setouchi and the Setouchi Triennale.

  • Land area: 2.68 km2
  • Circumference: 7.8 km
  • Highest Point: 216 m
  • Population in March 2019: 155 people in 106 households (only about a hundred permanently reside on the island – 73% of the population is older than 65).

 

Getting there

The only ferry that goes to Megijima (and Ogijima) is called Meon. It takes about 20 minutes to reach the island from Takamatsu. You can board the ferry on Pier 3 at Takamatsu Port and buy your ticket at the ticket booth located outside the building nearby.

 

Getting around the island

Visitors usually simply walk around the island. There are some rental bicycles, but you’ll only really need them if you plan to venture outside the main village (north or south of the island, to the cave, or to the tiny village of Nishiura). Locals often use scooters, and while it’s possible to bring a car to the island, it’s definitely not a convenient way to visit it. In order to go to the Oni cave, you can also ride a (pricey) shuttle bus, or simply walk if it’s not too hot and you’re healthy (it’s a short walk, 2km from the port if you follow the road, even shorter if you take the direct path, but you’ll have to climb up to 150 meters high).

 

More

For more information, feel free to check out Hinomaple’s Megijima Guide:

Setouchi Triennale 2019 (Megijima Guide)

 

Artworks

Usually, outdoor artworks are free and accessible in permanence.

Unless stated otherwise, indoor artworks are open every day during the Setouchi Triennale (and closed every day in between sessions of the Triennale).

Entrance to indoor artworks usually cost 300 yen without a Triennale Passport. Entrance is free for children and teenagers younger than 16.

Art on Megijima

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Seagull’s Parking Lot

Takahito Kimura (2010)

Review: I can’t help to find those fake seagulls all around Megi port a bit tacky, but I have to admit that with time, I got used to them. To tell you the truth, I actually barely pay attention to them most days when I’m on the island. However, they can even be interesting under some angles and perspectives.
⭐⭐

 

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20th Century Recall

Hagetaka Funjo (2010)

Review: I really like this boat-piano stranded there on the port, giving a surrealist feel to the area.
⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

 

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Megi House

Aichi Prefectural University of Fine Arts and Music Setouchi Art Project Team (2010)

  • Open every day during the Setouchi Triennale (9.00 am to 4.30 pm)
  • Megi House online: Facebook (in Japanese)
  • Some temporary artworks are exhibited during the Setouchi Triennale
  • Hinomaple’s article

Review: This building is basically a tiny concert hall and is very pleasant. It’s the perfect mix between traditional and contemporary architecture.
⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Bonsai Deepening Roots

Masashi Hirao & Setouchi Cogeiz (2016, 2019)

Review: a beautiful place. It’s an old house, stuck between the beach and the local Hachiman shrine that has been entirely renovated and has become an art gallery for bonsais. Note that the bonsai change every season.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Little Shops on the Island 

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This project is comprised of eight artworks all located in the same former “beach house.” They form some sort of mini “island shopping mall”. A certain number of the artworks double as real shops.

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Café de la Plage

Véronique Joumard (2019)

  • Open every day except Wednesdays during the Setouchi Triennale (9.00 am to 4.30 pm)
  • Free entrance. Food & drinks are not:
    • Drinks and desserts: around 300 yen each
    • Lunch: around 1,000 yen
  • Véronique Joumard online: official site (in French)

Review: At first, it’s just a café, but there are a few surprises in it (the artwork itself). It’s fun, playful, but a bit too minimalistic in my opinion.
⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Hair Salon Kotobuki

Aiko Miyanaga (2019)

  • Open on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays (as well as some Mondays) from 1 pm to 4.30 pm
  • Entrance is free, haircuts are not
  • Aiko Miyanaga online: official site (English and Japanese)

Review: A hair salon at the Setouchi Triennale? It’s a bit surprising. One cannot visit it, only use it, so I can’t really tell you much more about it. I’m quite curious about Aiko Miyanaga’s exact role as she’s a sculptor, not a hairstylist, although one can argue that both jobs have a lot in common.

 

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Wedding Shop

Leong Ka Tai and the Red Thread (2019)

  • Open every day during the Setouchi Triennale (9.00 am to 4.30 pm)
  • Entrance fee is 600 yen without a Triennale Passport (includes artworks mg07 to mg12)
  • Leong Ka Tai online: official site (English)

Review: A series of workshops around the theme of weddings. I need to go see it again, as there wasn’t much happening on the day I went. Upstairs, you will find a very interesting small photo exhibit (the artist is a photographer) focusing on some couples from Megijima and Ogijima, along with their thoughts and anecdotes about married life on the islands.
⭐⭐⭐

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Ping Pong Sea

Rintaro Hara & Yu Hara (2019)

  • Open every day during the Setouchi Triennale (9.00 am to 4.30 pm)
  • Entrance fee is 600 yen without a Triennale Passport (includes artworks mg07 to mg12)
  • Ping-pong rackets and ball “rental”: 100 yen

Review: A certain number of ping-pong tables have been set around the building’s atrium. Some look normal at first sight (at first sight only), some others will surprise you right away. Especially the main one that can have up to seven players at the same time!
A fun project that reminds me a little of Llobet & Pons’s project on Teshima. I had a lot of fun, my kids even more.
⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Laundry

Leandro Erlich (2019)

  • Open every day during the Setouchi Triennale (9.00 am to 4.30 pm)
  • Entrance fee is 600 yen without a Triennale Passport (includes artworks mg07 to mg12)
  • Laundry: washing 500 yen, drying 100 yen
  • Leandro Erlich online: official site (in English)

Avis: I usually love Leandro Erlich’s works, but I’m really not sure about this one. Real washing machines on one side, fake ones facing them. That’s all. Really? The Triennale’s official description mentions a reflection about time passing when watching the fake machines’ screens, but seriously, anyone having spent more than a few minutes in a laundromat has had the same experience already. I know a half-assed work when I see one. I’m quite disappointed, Leandro Erlich is capable of much much better (including on the same island).

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How beautiful this world could be

Mai Yamashita & Naoto Kobayashi (2019)

  • Open every day during the Setouchi Triennale (9.00 am to 4.30 pm)
  • Entrance fee is 600 yen without a Triennale Passport (includes artworks mg07 to mg12)
  • Mai Yamashita & Naoto Kobayashi online: official site (English and Japanese), Instagram, Twitter

Review: A much richer and more interesting work than it seems at first sight. When you enter the dark room, you’ll first see a bicycle, and a movie projected on the wall. The film shows someone pedaling on the bike at dusk on one of the islands in the area (actually Shodoshima). One could stop there and many visitors probably do it. It would be a shame. If you spend a little time watching the video, you’ll realize the technical prowess it actually is. Then you’ll also notice that there is a number of books in the room, almost a tiny library. Most are in Japanese, but I’m sure that they haven’t been randomly chosen. And then, there is the title, a quote from Night and Fog that may seem a bit out of place in such a festival. It’s actually the key to understanding the piece. What link between Setouchi and Auschwitz? At first, the answer has to be none, but there is one in the sunset. Add the quote and you have all you need to understand.
Disclaimer: I wrote this review from my visit and the artwork’s official description – I rewatched Night & Fog afterward (as research for writing this guide, not the kind of film you want to rewatch for fun), but couldn’t find the quote in it, that confuses me a little. More research will be needed, some mistake must have been made.
⭐⭐⭐⭐

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un… Salon for soothing your soul

Eros Nakazato (2019)

  • Open every day during the Setouchi Triennale (9.00 am to 4.30 pm)
  • Entrance fee is 600 yen without a Triennale Passport (includes artworks mg07 to mg12)
  • One part of the artwork is located on the beach
  • Eros Nakazato online: Twitter

Avis: Hard to describe. A crazy chair. You sit, turn a crank wheel handle and see what happens. I love it.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Shooting Gallery

Jin Hasegawa (2019)

  • Open every day during the Setouchi Triennale (9.00 am to 4.30 pm)
  • Entrance fee is 600 yen without a Triennale Passport (includes artworks mg07 to mg12)
  • Takoyaki (Fridays to Mondays and holidays only) 500 yen, masks 5,000 yen, “lots” 100 yen
  • Jin Hasegawa online: official site (in Japanese)

Review: I didn’t really spend time in this part of the Little Shops yet.

 

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Mecon

Shinro Ohtake (2013)

  • Open every day during the Setouchi Triennale (9.00 am to 4.30 pm)
  • Entrance fee is 510 yen without a Triennale Passport
  • Managed by Benesse Art Site Naoshima / Fukutake Foundation, however, contrarily to other Benesse art sites, taking pictures is allowed.
  • On the blog: main article
  • Hinomaple’s article

Review: A beautiful mess, like a lot of Ohtake’s works, but one I like very much. The work being “alive” (it is comprised of a lot of plants), it does change with time, as some plants whither and some others spread and grow.
⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

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Island Theatre Megi

Yoichiro Yoda (2016)

(space design: Koji Umeoka with the collaboration of Nantenshi Gallery)

Review: Almost a real 42nd Street New York movie theater from the Golden Age of Hollywood! How can one not love it? And that also means a real movie theater on Megijima!
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

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The Presence of Absence

Leandro Erlich (2010)

  • Open every day during the Setouchi Triennale (9.00 am to 4.30 pm)
  • Entrance fee is 300 yen without a Triennale Passport
  • Leandro Erlich online: official site (in English)
  • Managed by Benesse Art Site Naoshima. No pictures allowed
  • Hinomaple’s article

Review: Two different artworks in the same house (one in the courtyard, the other one in a room). I love both, but I won’t tell you anything about them, as surprise is a big part of the experience. Don’t let anyone tell you what to expect and don’t tell anyone. The building also houses a restaurant (that is the location of the following artwork) and of a tiny library mostly dedicated to artists who are part of Art Setouchi.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

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Setouchi Gastronomy

Eat & Art Taro (2019)

  • Open every day during the Setouchi Triennale at the following hours: 10.50 am, 11.40 am, 12.40 pm, 1.30 pm, and 2.30 pm
  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • No entrance fee, but the meal costs around 1,500 yen
  • Reservation at 070-3791-8428
  • Eat & Art Taro online: official site (in Japanese), Twitter, Instagram

Review: Eat & Art Taro is an artist who works with food. In other words, he’s as much a chef as he is an artist. His art/dishes always revolve around a given concept. Six years ago, he had designed “island soups” with a recipe changing from island to island, using ingredients unique to each. Three years ago, his works was a play revolving around food, language and communication. This year, the meal is also a performance, but unfortunately, I can’t tell you more about it, as I haven’t attended yet. However, I’m sure of one thing, maybe two: it will be delicious, it most likely also will be interesting.

 

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Terrace Winds

Yasuyoshi Sugiura (2013)

Review: Honestly, I’m really not sure what to think of it. I’ve tried hard to find something to say about it and never really succeeded.

 

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Ebune: Drifters

Kohryoh (2019)

  • Open every day during the Setouchi Triennale (9.00 am to 4.30 pm)
  • Entrance fee is 300 yen without a Triennale Passport
  • Kohryoh online: Twitter

Review: A house-boat stranded on Megijima (except it’s not a real boat… it’s a real house though). The interior is weird, almost disturbing, and more or less along the lines of the previous tenants in 2016 (Chaos Lounge and their Oni Houses). It is my understanding that Kohryoh has worked with Chaos Lounge before, she may even have been a member of the group. I understand that not everyone will like this artwork, but personally, I’m a fan.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Oninoko Tile Project

Oninoko Production – around 3,000 volunteers, mostly junior high school students from Takamatsu under the direction of Shunji Jinnai, kawara (traditional tiles) maker (2013)

  • Open every day from 8.30 am to 5 pm
  • Entrance: 600 yen (400 with a Triennale Passport), 250 yen for teenagers and kids 15 years old and less (the artwork is located inside the “Oni cave” and the price is the cave’s entrance fee)
  • Hinomaple’s article
  • In the blog: article

Review: I love it. All of these “oni tiles” are fascinating, they all seem to have personality and their sheer number make the cave interesting for the first time. It is really the cave’s only interest, as instead of a potentially interesting historical site, it was shaped into a “roadside attraction” by whoever manages it. On a side note, that “whoever” is also some of the very few unpleasant I have met on the islands. They really only care about taking visitors’ money and that’s pretty much it. And I can’t believe that they raised the entrance fee again this year. It was already overpriced before, not it’s a real rip-off.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (only for the artwork – the cave itself has no interest whatsoever unless you like really tacky things)

 

 

 

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