Shodoshima Art Guide

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.

 

More

For more information, please go to Hinomaple’s Shodoshima page:

Setouchi Triennale 2019 (Shodoshima Guide)

 

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

Please note that the Setouchi Triennale 2019 has ended and the Art Setouchi 2020 season hasn’t started yet. As such, the information below is not currently up-to-date and most artworks are closed either permanently or until March 2020. If you have any question do not hesitate to ask them on the Art Setouchi Facebook group that I manage. Thank you.

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)

  • Outdoor art (?)
  • Free access
  • New from April 2019
  • Kim Kyoung-Min online: official site

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.

 

Shikai

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Okinosang

Koo Jeong A (2019)

  • New from summer 2019
  • Open from 9.30 am to 5 pm
  • Free entrance
  • Koo Jeong A online: official site

 

Hitoyama – Nakayama

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Shishigaki Island

Masato Saito (2013, 2016)

Review: Meh…

 

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Fluire

Giacomo Zaganelli (2019)

  • Location: Hitoyama elementary school’s swimming pool (the school is closed)
  • Open from 9.30 am to 5 pm
  • Entrance: 300 yen (the first visit is free with a Triennale Passport)
  • New
  • Giacomo Zaganelli online: official site

Review: I have to admit that I’m not exactly sure what the artist is trying to do here. A bunch of plants in a bunch of pots placed around the old swimming pool. Maybe it’d look nicer if the swimming pool’s grounds had been renovated. Maybe it will look nicer in the future? No idea.

 

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Love in Shodoshima

Wang Wen-Chih (2019)

  • Location: “One thousand rice fields” in Nakayama
  • Open from 9.30 am to 5 pm
  • Entrance: 300 yen (the first visit is free with a Triennale Passport)
  • New

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

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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)

  • New in spring 2019
  • Location: just north of Konoura
  • Open from 9.30 am to 5 pm
  • Free entrance

Review: not seen yet.

 

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Utopia Dungeon

Keisuke Tanaka (2019)

  • New in spring 2019
  • Location: village of Konoura
  • Open from 9.30 am to 5 pm
  • Free entrance

Review: interesting building, full of tiny sculptures of trees and more. Pretty hard to describe.
⭐⭐⭐

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Quartz by the Sea

Kaoru Hirano (2019)

  • New in spring 2019
  • Location: village of Konoura
  • Open from 9.30 am to 5 pm
  • Free entrance

Review: I’m not too sure what to think of it. I may need to revisit it again soon.

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Tomorrow’s Sea

Mutsumi Tomosada (2019)

  • New in spring 2019
  • Location: village of Konoura
  • Open from 9.30 am to 5 pm
  • Free entrance
  • Mutsumi Tomosada online: official site (in Japanese)

Review: It starts odd (a disco ball in a shed), but ends beautifully.
⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Ascend the past and now, descend the future

Yoshihiko Shikada (2019)

  • New in spring 2019
  • Location: village of Konoura
  • Open from 9.30 am to 5 pm
  • Free entrance

Review: Not seen yet.

 

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Shiomimi-so

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.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Element

Jio Shimizu (2019)

  • New in spring 2019
  • Location: right outside the village of Konoura on the way to the island’s southern tip.
  • Open from 9.30 am to 5 pm
  • Free entrance

Review: a fascinating artwork. Make sure to take the time to see all the installations one, in particular, is amazing, but you could easily miss it if you don’t pay close attention (hint: the one with the stroboscopic lights)
⭐⭐⭐⭐

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“Stand Up!” Series / Running Dog, Floating Elephant

Kohsui (2019)

  • New in spring 2019
  • Location: right outside the village of Konoura on the way to the island’s southern tip.
  • Open from 9.30 am to 5 pm
  • Free entrance

Review: first you’ll only see the dogs… and your reaction may be something along the lines of “WTF?” Then you’ll see the elephant, and you’ll be impressed.
⭐⭐⭐

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Yamagoe-do (Mountain Voice cavern)

Toshimitsu Ito (2019)

  • New in spring 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 need to go back on a non-rainy day (and without my kids) to experience it properly, but it seems almost as interesting as its predecessor.

 

This artwork is not part of the Setouchi Triennale anymore, but it’s still around.

Sunset House: Language as the House of Being

James Jack (2013)

Review: I really love this place and I’m really sad that it’s not part of the Triennale anymore. I’m afraid that it’s not much maintained anymore either. 🙁
⭐⭐⭐⭐

Hishionosato
(Kusakabe, Yasuda, Umaki, Noma)

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The Shore Where We Can Reach

Xiang Yang (2019)

  • Location: Kusakabe Port
  • New
  • Open from 9.30 am to 5 pm
  • Entrance: 300 yen (the first visit is free with a Triennale Passport)
  • The opening times and entrance fee are for the exhibit, the outdoor parts of the artwork are accessible in permanence.

Review: An amazing project that should be completed this summer and turned into a unique 27-meter long boat. In the meantime, you can see an exhibit explaining the project, a tower made of old furniture and part of the future boat.
⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

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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.
⭐⭐

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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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Bell Shelter

Dadawa (2019)

  • Location: Umaki
  • New
  • Open from 9.30 am to 5 pm
  • Entrance: 300 yen (the first visit is free with a Triennale Passport)
  • Dadawa online: Wikipedia page

Review: Stunningly beautiful. One of my favorite new artworks of 2019 so far.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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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
  • New

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.
⭐⭐⭐⭐ (for the artwork)
⭐⭐ (for the gallery, it feels a bit pretentious)

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The Silent Room

Hans Op de Beeck (2019)

  • Location: Umaki
  • Open from 9.30 am to 5 pm
  • Entrance: 300 yen (the first visit if free with a Triennale Passport)
  • Hans Op de Beeck online: official site
  • New from summer 2019

 

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Fosse d’Orchestre / White Museum

Rosa Barba (2019)

  • Location: Olive grove in Noma
  • Open from 9.30 am to 5 pm
  • Free entrance
  • Rosa Barba online: official site
  • New from spring 2019

Review: The first artwork I really dislike of 2019. The artist turned a very quiet and relaxing space into a cacophonous area that reminds you of a train station or something. Very unpleasant and pointless.

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)
  • New

 

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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. I haven’t seen the current ones.

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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

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Beyond the Border – Wave

Lin Shuen-Long (2019)

Review: An amazing large-scale installation from an amazing artist. One of the artworks of 2019 that you must not miss.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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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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