Naoshima Island is known as an art sanctuary for the several modern art museums, special architecture and large sculptures. Its’ most famous artefact is the yellow pumpkin sitting on the seashore. The small art island has been popular since it was featured as a place you must visit once in your life in the famous magazine “Conde Nast Traveler”. Also, a big art event called Setouchi Triennale Contemporary Art Festival was held in 2019 there and Naoshima Island got the attention from many people from all over the world.
On the island, located between Hiroshima and Kyoto, you can see amazing artworks like the Red Pumpkin and the Yellow Pumpkin by Yayoi Kusama, the most famous artworks you can see in Naoshima Island. You can also visit a number of unique museums such as Chichu Art Museum or Benesse House Museum. Of course the island does not consist solely of artworks but it also has a beautiful beach, mountains and a welcoming town. The island doesn’t have an airport, so your only way to go to the island is by ferry. There are several ports where you can embark on the ferry to one of the two ports in Naoshima. In this article we will explain the different ways to getting to Naoshima Island.
- How to get to Naoshima Island
- Via Okayama Station – the cheapest option
- 2. Okayama station to Uno Port
How to get to Naoshima Island
The easiest way to get to Naoshima is from Uno Port. You can go to this port from Okayama Station by train or bus. The other way is from Takamatsu Port. It would be better if you take an airplane from Tokyo or Okinawa. Here are the details for how to get to Naoshima Island and we will introduce two different ways in more detail.
Via Okayama Station – the cheapest option
1. How to get to Okayama Station
From Kobe, Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya or Tokyo (cities the east of Okayama)
The easiest and worry free way to go to Okayama Station is taking a bullet train. Unless you are travelling directly from Osaka, you will need to switch trains at Shin-Osaka. From Shin-Osaka Station, you can travel to Okayama Station and it will take about 50 minutes by Nozomi, Mizuho or Sakura and 70 minutes by Hikari. If you have a JR pass, you should take either Sakura, Hikari or Kodama as these are included within the JR pass. In the table below we have written down the different Shinkansen you can take from the cities east of Okayama.
From Hiroshima or Hakata (cities in the west from Okayama)
If you come from Hiroshima or any area west from Okayama, your best way is also taking a bullet train. n the table below we have written down the different Shinkansen you can take from the cities west of Okayama.
2. Okayama station to Uno Port
There are two ways to get to Uno Port:
Take the JR train to Uno Station and walk to Uno Port
Taking the JR train is slightly cheaper than taking a bus, especially if you are in possession of the JR pass. Okayama Station is big so be careful not to get lost! Take JR Uno line and the departure track would be 5 to 8. It depends on time but you can either go directly to Uno Station or you need to transfer at Chayamachi Station. Uno Port is 5 minutes away on foot from Uno Station.
Travelling time approx. 50 min.
Take Ryobi Express Bus from Okayama to Uno Port
The other way is taking Ryobi Express Bus from Okayama Station to Uno Port. The bus leaves every 30 minutes, which is is more frequent than the train. Take this express bus from the bus stop no. 2. If you want to get a seat on the bus, get there early and wait for a bit. Be sure to board the express bus and not the regular bus, the regular bus will take a longer route and adds an additional 30 minutes to your trip.
Travelling time approx. 50 min.
3. Uno Port to Naoshima Island
Naoshima has two public ferry ports: Miyanoura and Honmura. The main port for tourists in Naoshima is Miyanoura Port. From Uno Port, you can take a ferry (20 minutes) or speed boat (15 minutes) operated by Shikoku Kisen to go to Naoshima. You can take either a ferry or a speedboat depending on the time, both cost the same.
Costs ¥300 (one way)
Travelling time approx. 20 min.
Check the timetable here
- On the speed boat, sometimes you might struggle to find enough space for your luggage.
- It is a 5 min. walk from ticket center to boarding piers for the speedboat.
- There are two ports in Naoshima. Miyanoura Port and Honmura Port.
Honmura Port is much smaller port than Miyanoura Port and is located in Honmura, the center of Naoshima, close to Art House Project. However, the port itself is so small and mainly for residents. We recommend you take the boat to Miyanoura Port, especially if it’s your first time in Naoshima.
Via Takamatsu – the most comfortable way
1. Fly to Takamatsu Airport
You can catch a plane from Haneda or Narita Airport to Takamatsu Airport and go to Takamatsu Port from there directly. There are more than 10 flights operating on a daily basis from Haneda and a few more from Narita. The flight takes about 1 hour and will set you back at ¥20,000 one-way.
From Okinawa (Naha Airport) there is just one flight from Okinawa to Takamatsu Airport per day, which also takes approximately 2 hours.
There are a few direct international flights to Takamatsu Airport too, these include cities like Hong Kong, Taipei, or Seoul.
2. Takamatsu Airport to Takamatsu Port
After getting off the airplane, you can take an Airport Limousine Bus (operated by Kotoden Bus) to Takamatsu Station and from there walk a few minutes to Takamatsu Port.
Travelling time approx. 65 min.
Check the timetable here
Alternative: Travel to Takamatsu Port by train
Another option reaching Takamatsu port from Tokyo, Kyoto or other cities, is taking the train. This is probably your best option when you hold a JR Pass or when you travel from Kyoto. Most people enjoy this way actually the most because of its amazing sea views. However it takes a bit longer. Your travel plan would look like this:
- Take the Shinkansen to Okayama.
- From Okayama take the Marine Liner express bound for Takamatsu.
- From Takamatsu station walk a few minutes to Takamutsu Port.
3. Takamatsu Port to Naoshima Island
There are fewer services operating from Takamatsu port compared to Uno Port, but you can take a ferry or high speed boat operated by Shikoku Kisen to go to Miyanoura Port in Naoshima.
Ferry costs ¥520 (oneway)
Travelling time approx. 50 min.
Speedboat costs ¥1,220 (oneway)
Travelling time approx. 25 min.
Travelling around on Naoshima Island
To enjoy all the good that Naoshima Island has to offer, we recommend you spend at least 1 night at the island. Even though the island is only 5 km across, there is a lot to see and in this way you are able to see everything and explore the island on a relaxed pace. There are multiple ways of getting the island, there are busses, taxi’s, or you can rent a bicycle or make your way around on foot. As mentioned before Naoshima is only about 5 km across so it is relatively easy to discover.
Naoshima’s museums and art installations are located on the southern part of the island. From Miyanoura Port one or two buses per hour depart for Tsutsuji-so (the museum area), making a short stop at Nokyo-mae, where the Art House Project / ANDO MUSEUM are located. The drive from Miyanoura Port to Tsutsuji-so takes about 15 minutes and the ticket will costs you ¥100. From Tsutsuji-so bus stop you can catch a free shuttle bus to the Benesse House, the Lee Ufan Museum and the Chichu Art Museum.
Our recommendation is to rent a bicycle, this way you can cover a lot more ground easily. There are many rental shops just across from Miyanoura ferry pier, renting out both pedal bicycles as well as electric bicycles. Rental costs will be approximately ¥500 (pedal bicycle) to ¥1,500 (electric bicycle) for the full day. There are a few hills you will encounter during your trip to Naoshima, so we recommend you opts for the electric bike!
By now you have a good idea of how to plan you trip to the special contemporary art island of Naoshima. Will you add a trip to this special island to your travel plans? If you have any inquiry about Naoshima, please contact us. We are happy to help you make tour trip to Japan even greater!
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What would it cost for us to book a train trip from tokyo to Naoshima on April 18… early on the 18th… there are four of us 2 adults. 1 16 year old. 1 10 year old. Admission to the musuem. AND possibly a room at Benesse house hotel for that night?
Thanks for your inquiry.
Please read the article. All information for the transport from Tokyo is there.
There are no direct train from Tokyo to Naoshima.
If you choose train trip, you need to go to Okayama Station from Tokyo by bullet train.
Then, go to Uno Station by local bus or local train.
Also, if you would like to stay the Benesse House, you can check the availability from their website.
Information of admission fee is also there.
Since Benesse House is quite popular, basically we recommend booking the rooms more than 3 months before because the rooms will be sold out very soon.
We will be staying overnight in Okayama and the next night in Kobe. Is it doable to go to Naoshima to see some of what the island has to offer before continuing to Kobe for the night?
There is a convenient and smart train that is almost direct from Tokyo to Naoshima. It is the only affordable overnight train in Japan, called the Sunrise Seto that leaves from Tokyo and arrives at Takamatsu in Shikoku. From Takamatsu you can take the ferry directly to Naoshima. The Sunrise Seto departs from Tokyo at around 21:50 and arrives in Takamatsu at 7:27am. I recommend reserving a proper bed as the Nobi nobi seats looks uncomfortable. There are many websites and YouTube videos dedicated to the Sunrise Seto.