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Setouchi Triennale 2016 in Some Numbers…


The Setouchi Triennale 2016 ended two and half months ago. It’s winter. Most remaining artworks are closed until the Spring. Preparations for the Setouchi Triennale 2019 are no more than some thoughts and ideas at the moment.

However, I was given some documents debriefing the festival. It’s all in Japanese, so I’m going to have to wait until it’s translated into English to share more information with you, but it also contains some data that can be of some interest for you.

First, the general attendance this year was 1,040,050!

It’s a bit less than in 2013 (1,070,368), but barely.

If you divide by season, Spring had 254,284 visitors, Summer had 401,004 and Fall had 384,762.

The most popular island is, without surprise Naoshima. Here is the breakdown of all the islands:

  1. Naoshima: 257,586
  2. Shodoshima: 155,546 (I was surprised that Shodoshima arrived second, but I guess it always gets a lot of tourists – unrelated to the festival – I assume a bunch of them decided to visit some artworks too)
  3. Teshima: 154,713
  4. Takamatsu: 122,555
  5. Inujima: 60,212
  6. Shamijima: 58,766 (and this number was reached despite being open only one season – Shamijima’s advantage being that you can drive there probably)
  7. Ogijima: 54, 232 (surprised that Ogijima got more visitors than Megijima)
  8. Megijima: 49,276
  9. Uno Port: 38,806
  10. Awashima: 23,668
  11. Honjima: 21,802
  12. Takamijima: 21,028
  13. Ibukijima: 16,756
  14. Oshima: 5,104


Oiwa Island 2

Oiwa Island 2 on Shodoshima


The following numbers came from various questionnaires that were given to visitors, they may or may not be accurate (just like any poll).

67.2% of visitors were female and 32.8% male. This big difference is easily explainable, as fewer women have jobs and as such they usually have more free time for cultural events.

Age-wise, visitors are traditionally young (once again, less busy with work, more interested in culture), with 50% of visitors being in their 20’s and 30’s.

Now, let’s talk about where they’re from.

30.9% of visitors are residents of Kagawa. That is still a large proportion, but it’s getting smaller (36% in 2013)

Another 9.8% come from nearby Okayama. And about 45.9% come from the rest of Japan.

Now, the number that is very significant is that this year 13.4% of visitors were foreigners. It’s a huge increase from 2013 when the number was only 2.6%.

Now, let’s see where those foreigners are from:

  1. Taiwan: 29.2%
  2. South Korea: 12.5%
  3. France: 9.8% (I want to believe that my efforts are responsible for this number, but truth is the fact that Naoshima is slowly becoming famous in France is most likely the reason. 😉 Still a big and good surprise).
  4. Hong Kong: 9.1%
  5. USA: 8.4% (I’m pretty surprised by this number, but I assume that Naoshima is also the cause, as it’s also becoming quite famous, at least in art circles, in the US)
  6. Australia: 4.5%
  7. United Kingdom: 3.6%
  8. China: 2.3%
  9. Netherlands: 1.8%
  10. Germany: 1.4%
  11. The rest of the world accounting for 17.4% of foreign visitors.


I have a few more numbers, but they may or may not be interesting for you, so I’ll just link to them once the English version of the document is online (I may not link from the blog, probably from social media, so stay tuned).



2 thoughts on “Setouchi Triennale 2016 in Some Numbers…”

  1. Interesting numbers. felt busier than 2013, but considering that I went in summer, the busiest season, that is probably why it felt busier.

    I noticed a LOT of foreigners compared to 2013. In our travels and talking with people, I can definitely “feel” most of the numbers are true. Lots of Taiwanese people were volunteering, I did feel French was the main European language, and Americans… well… not sure on that one. Didn’t really notice them but Naoshima has been pretty famous.

    As for Shodoshima being #2, I can see that. It is only 833 more than Teshima, so it is less than 1% different. Generally, Shodoshima is pretty easy to access too, although it is big to visit.

    I think the visitor difference from Megijima and Ogijima could be the fact that they don’t count the beach goers on Megijima. They don’t bother to visit any of the art sites there. Ogijima, however, is mostly people going to the art festival.

    If I were to hazard a guess on how they count everything, they take a tally of the people who visited the paid sites. Megijima has the caves that are not necessarily festival related but it is not visited often by “regular tourists”. Ogijima’s “pest” tourist (you know what I mean) probably visit the art as well as there is only so much you can do on the island. Shodoshima probably has a lot more people visiting the paid art too. Wouldn’t mind learning exactly how they count the people though.

    Also, did you take the survey? I did it on Ogijima but can’t remember exactly what I put down. It was not easy with the numbers though. Had no idea how much I was going to spend. 🙂

    1. Concerning Americans, I didn’t really run into many, except on Naoshima where I ran into a lot (and a few on Teshima).
      And seeing the e-mails I got, the blogs I found (through Google Alerts) and such, I have the feeling that most Americans only go to Naoshima (which is silly during the Triennale, oh well).
      You know how Americans travel: as fast as possible, trying to go to as many places as possible in as little time as possible. So those who come to the area have no time for more than one island.

      For Ogi and Megi. Not sure, really. Of course, the beach goers aren’t counted, but note that in 2013, the numbers were almost opposite: 57,582 for Megi and 49,712 for Ogi. Maybe I skewed the numbers with my many visits. ????
      More seriously, I feel like while for decades Megijima was more famous than Ogijima, but in recent years, Ogijima’s efforts are bearing fruit, and the locals are visiting it more and more, especially those who care about arts and slow life.

      If I understood correctly, to get those numbers, they picked a few “key sites” on each islands, and compared those numbers. Of course, to make a blogging analogy, it’s not really accurate to call those “number of visitors” it’s actually “number of visits” although the number of repeating visitors may be quite low.

      Yes, I did take the survey twice (oh no, I skewed the numbers again ???? ), and yes, I find it hard to respond to most of the time. They really should have a “locals” survey and a “non-local” survey, because questions like “how many days are you going to spend in the area” were hard to answer. Not mentioning “what artworks do you want to see” (circling all of them took time)

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