Shodoshima Art Guide 2020

Warning: Because of the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic, most Art Setouchi sites will remain closed until further notice. Also, as a reminder, the population of the islands is old and as such especially vulnerable to the virus. Please refrain from visiting the islands until things get better. Thank you for your understanding.

Shodoshima is a bit unique among the islands taking part in the Setouchi Triennale. Sure, every island is unique, but if only because of its size Shodoshima feels a little different. It definitely is a little world in itself, with actual towns and more. While it’s mainly famous for being the first and one of the few places where olives can grow in Japan, its economy mostly revolves around the production of soy sauce (some breweries produce some of the best in the country), somen, and tourism (while still relatively unknown overseas, the island has a certain notoriety with Japanese tourists because of its amazing landscapes and… well, olives… while they’re somewhat irrelevant in terms of local cuisine, they do attract Japanese tourists always in search of a new edible novelty). However, it is also affected by depopulation, just like the other islands, and its most remote areas (the northern coast, the inner valleys, Mito Peninsula in the south) are seeing their population dropping drastically, just like the rest of the region. So the Setouchi Triennale is needed there too, and thanks to its size, Shodoshima is the island that hosts the largest number of artworks for the art festival.

  • Land area: 153.35 square meters
  • Circumference: 140.1 km
  • Highest Point: 817 m (Mount Hoshigajo)
  • Population in March 2019: 27,266 residents (in 12,123 households)

 

Getting There

There are many ferries going to and from Shodoshima.

From Takamatsu, you can easily access three ports: Tonosho (the island’s main port) in the west of the island, Ikeda in the south, and Kusakabe in the south-east.
You can also reach Tonosho from Uno Port or Teshima, as well as Shin-Okayama Port and – during the Setouchi Triennale only – Inujima.
You can also arrive in the eastern side of the island from Kobe (Sakate port) or Himeji (Fukuda port) or in the north in Obe port from Hinase in Okayama prefecture.

In other words, you have a lot of choices, even though coming from Takamatsu is probably the easiest and most obvious choice. Also keep in mind that you can arrive in one port and leave from another one, which gives you more leeway when planning your day.

 

Getting around the island

For better or worse, a car is the best way to get around Shodoshima, especially if you want to see a lot of the art. It is spread out all around the island and various art sites are usually a few kilometers from each other. However, know that bringing a car on the ferry is not cheap, and renting one on the island is a cheaper option if you only spend one day on the island. If you spend more time, bringing your car on the ferry will be cheaper.

If you like riding a bicycle and are quite athletic, it could be the best option though. Shodoshima’s landscapes are stunning, and a bicycle remains the best way to enjoy them, but you’ll need to be in good shape, you will face some steep slopes from time to time. However, the south part of the island is flat(ter) and you can rent electric bikes in Ikeda or Kusakabe ports, and I warmly advise you to do so. Note that you can rent a bike in one port, and leave it in another one.

There are buses that allow access to all the art sites, but know that besides the main road (along the south coast between Tonosho and Sakate) where they’re quite frequent, you will have to plan carefully. If you’re in a remote part of the island and miss the bus, the next one could be a few hours later. There is usually a day bus pass during the Setouchi Triennale.

Finally, Shodoshima is quite popular with local bikers (the one with motor kind), and driving on the semi-mountainous roads of the island must be fun indeed, especially because they have little traffic overall.

 

Artworks

Usually, outdoor artworks are free and accessible all the time.

Indoor artworks are open only on Triennale days and usually have a 300 yen entrance fee that is covered by the Triennale Passport.

All art sites are free for children and teenagers age 15 or younger.

Disclaimer: while I try to maintain this page as often as possible, it is possible that some information is inaccurate or out-of-date. As a general reminder, this page is by no means official and is based on my knowledge and experience of the area.

 

Artworks on Shodoshima

 

Tonosho Port

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Gift of the Sun

Choi Jeong Hwa (2013)

  • Location: Tonosho port, next to the high-speed passenger boat terminal.
  • Outdoor artwork, free access
  • Choi Jeong Hwa online: official site
  • On this site

Review: a very consensual public artwork, but a very pleasant one.
⭐⭐⭐

 

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Art no Show Terminal

Junko Koshino & Atelier Omoya (2016)

Review: I love the drum that creates “waves” (2019 update: I’m not 100% sure it’s still around). The second floor has temporary exhibits.
⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

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Again…

Kim Kyoung-Min (2019)

Review: I have yet to see it.

 

Honmachi (“Downtown” Tonosho)

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Maze Town – Fantasmagoric Alleys

Me (pronounced “meh” affiliated with the Mei Pam Gallery) (2016)

  • Location: “Meiro-cho” that is Tonosho’s historical center, the name of the neighborhood can be translated as “maze neighborhood”
  • Open from 9.30 am to 5 pm
  • Entrance: 300 yen (the first visit is free with a Triennale Passport)
  • Managed by Mei Pam Gallery
  • Photos are not allowed inside

Review: I love it, but I won’t tell you what to expect.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

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Tsugi-Tsugi-Kintsugi

Masayuki Kishimoto (2010)

  • Location: the window of the 114 Bank, downtown Tonosho
  • It’s just a part of the artwork. The main site is in Yasuda, in the eastern part of Shodoshima.

 

 

Hitoyama – Nakayama

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Shishigaki Island

Masato Saito (2013, 2016)

Review: Meh…

 

 

 

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Love in Shodoshima

Wang Wen-Chih (2019)

  • Location: “One thousand rice fields” in Nakayama
  • Viewable only from the outside. The structure is now closed, but it will stay until the next typhoon or the one after.

Review: Once again and for the fourth time, Wang Wen-Chich has gifted us with amazing and unforgettable artwork. One of the unmissable pieces of the Setouchi Triennale.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

Péninsule de Mito

(closed until 2022?)

The Secret of Hanasuwajima

Kana Ko (2013)

  • Location: village of Muro (between Ikeda and Mito Peninsula)
  • Open from 9.30 am to 5 pm
  • Free entrance

Review: Nice. Not mind-blowing though.
⭐⭐⭐

 

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Garden of the Border

Mitsuharu Doi (2016, 2019)

  • Location: village of Kamano (Tanijiri hamlet, south-east of the Mito Peninsula)
  • Outdoor artwork, free access
  • The artwork has been expanded since 2016

Review: Pretty pleasant land art installation that looks like some sort of archeological site. Pay close attention to the details on the half-buried torii.
⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

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Eyes of Nature (from the Earth)

Julio Goya (2019)

  • Location: just north of Konoura
  • Outdoor artwork
  • Free entrance

Review: a very fun treehouse.
⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

 

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Shiomimi-so (Songs of the Tides)

Kana Ko, Toshimitsu Ito and Hiroshima City University Faculty of Arts (2016)

  • Location: village of Konoura, on the coast near the south exit of the village
  • Outdoor artwork, free access
  • Toshimitsu Ito online: official site (in English and Japanese)

Review: I really love this building… Is it even a building?… This almost unreal structure whose function is as unreal as its look. I really love when artworks project us in an imaginary world that suddenly becomes tangible.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

 

 

(closed until 2022?)

Yamagoe-do  (Mountain Voice Cavern)

Toshimitsu Ito (2019)

  • Location: between Konoura and the southern tip of Shodoshima
  • Open from 9.30 am to 5 pm
  • Free entrance
  • Toshimitsu Ito online: official site (in English and Japanese)

Review: more or less a follow-up to Shiomimi-so. I like the idea and the structure, unfortunately, it doesn’t “work” too great (the echo in the chamber is very strong and one doesn’t hear much of the outside). Still an interesting creation.
⭐⭐⭐

 

 

Hishionosato
(Kusakabe, Yasuda, Umaki, Noma)

 

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Stone Island’s Stone

Hideyuki Nakayama (2016)

Review: Maybe I need the opinion of an architect, but I don’t really have an opinion on the building either way. It serves its purpose though.
⭐⭐

(closed until 2022?)

Tsugi-Tsugi-Kintsugi

Masayuki Kishimoto (2010)

Review: Really interesting. Both very mundane (just some strange piles of dishes) and not at all at the same time.
⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

 

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Hut with Arc Wall

Architect: Yo Shimada (2013)

Review: I really love this building that’s a little confusing at first, like a very tiny maze. As it’s a toilet, one may have the feeling that it lacks privacy, but fear not, it’s part of the point I assume, and you’ll be fine.
⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

 

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Regent in Olives

Hisakazu Shimizu (2013)

Review: I can’t not find it silly, but I kinda love it at the same time.
⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

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Umaki Camp

Architecture: Dot Architects (Toshikatsu Ienari, Takeshi Shakushiro, Tatsuya Mukai) – Project director: Noboru Tsubaki (2013)

Review: I really love this somewhat utopian space. A place for everyone: a kitchen, a garden and more, for all to use. A place where visitors can rest, meet other visitors or locals. If there were more places like this in the world, it would be a better place, I mean it.
Unfortunately, I must add that if this is what it was in 2013 when it was new, nowadays, locals don’t seem to be using it much and some parts need to be better taken care of. The kitchen is still great, and I make sure to have lunch there almost every time I come to Umaki.
⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

 

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Georges Gallery

Georges Rousse, Yasushi Kishimoto, Takashi Tochiyama, Miyabi Katayama (2019)

  • Location: Umaki
  • Open from 9.30 am to 5 pm
  • Entrance: 500 yen (300 yen with a Triennale Passport)
  • Georges Rousse online: official site, Facebook

Review: The artworks are quite interesting, even though they almost look better on pictures than for real. I have mixed feelings about the place itself (the gallery and café). It feels like it belongs to a fancy and upscale city, not Umaki that is quite rural. In other words, it really feels out of place.
⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

Sakate

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Star Anger

Kenji Yanobe (2013)

Review: I’m a fan, both of the statue and Legend of Shodoshima the mural that was painted right next door.
⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Beat Shrine / Anger from the Bottom

“Beat” Takeshi Kitano et Kenji Yanobe (2013)

Building by Dot Architects (2014)

Review: I love this “god of anger” that’s both terrifying and cute.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Tanoura

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Fisherman’s Dream

Saya Irie (2019)

  • Location: 24 Eyes Movie Village
  • Open from 9 am to 5 pm
  • Entrance: 790 yen (it’s the entrance fee for the Movie Village – 500 yen with the Triennale Passport)

Review: I haven’t seen it yet.

 

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Bollard of Love

Hisakazu Shimizu (2016)

  • Location: in front of the 24 Eyes Movie Village
  • Outdoor artwork, free access

Review: Meh.

 

Fukuda

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Fukutake House – Asia Art Platform

(2013)

  • Location: Fukuda’s former school
  • Open from 11 am to 5 pm
  • Entrance: 500 yen (the first visit is free with the Triennale Passport)
  • Managed by Benesse Art Site Naoshima

Review: It houses various temporary exhibits.

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Fukita Pavilion

Ryue Nishizawa (2013)

  • Location: between Fukutake House and the Hachiman shrine nearby
  • Outdoor artwork, free access
  • Ryue Nishizawa online: official site

Review: It makes me think of two giant sheets of paper that would have been forgotten there, and now we can hide in between them.
⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

Obe

 

(closed until 2022?)

Shodoshima Tree

Kohei Takekoshi (2016)

  • Location: village of Obe
  • Open from 9.30 am to 5 pm
  • Entrance: 300 yen (the first visit is free with the Triennale Passport)

Review: Very interesting. We feel like we’re underground – if the ground was invisible.
⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

Kitaura

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Dynamite Traverse Variations

Chichibu Avant-Garde (2016)

  • Location: Osakajo Zanseki Kinen Koen
  • Open from 9.30 am to 5 pm
  • Free entrance

Review: It’s a musical installation with some avant-garde music. I don’t really have a strong opinion about it.
⭐⭐⭐

 

 

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