Naoshima Island, that lies in the Seto Inland Sea, has been a place that I have dreamed of visiting for so many years!! This tiny little island trimmed with pine trees and sandy beaches is famous for it's contemporary art and boasts an bunch of galleries, museums and public installations. It is also home to a couple of pieces by Yayoi Kusama, who is one of my most respected artists, and Naoshima is famous for her pumpkin on the pier.
The island is home to so many interesting art projects and initiatives and it was really amazing to get to visit and see it all with my own eyes.... so anyway back to arriving in Okayama!!!!
Okayama is a relatively small city and isn't super touristy so it was nice to be able to wander around without the crowds and check out it's lovely castle and famous Korakuen gardens. The weather was slightly warmer than Seoul during the time I was there which was lovely as the plum blossoms had just started to bloom!
I stayed in central Okayama which was great as there were a bunch of old school shopping streets and arcades in the area as well as little cafes and places to eat!! When I was there I took the train to the nearby town of Kurashiki which is full of winding, traditional streets sitting on a canal.
The place reminded me a lot of lovely Mino!!!
Kurashiki was awesome...little museums, cafes and shops tucked around every corner! There is also a nice shrine that offers views over the town! So many yummy snacks too including black sesame ice cream!!!
A trip to Japan is always, of course, an excuse to indulge in some shopping for goodies!! On this occasion mainly cute stationary, glorious snacks and a mega haul of green tea!!
I was also excited that Starbucks had just launched their Sakura seasonal specials menu so I made sure I got a hefty slice of cherry blossom chiffon cake and a divine 'Caramelly Sakura Choco Latte' every morning!!!
I really took advantage of the glorious sakura goodies whilst I was there.....cherry blossom tea, sakura chocolate, sakura mochi, sakura milk tea, sakura ice cream.....and along the same theme....plum blossom potato chips?!?!?! Made the most of the endless daigaku imo (college potatoes!!)...steaming matcha on tap....and of course the odd taiyaki here and there!!!!
My adventure to Naoshima Island was the part I had been most looking forward to! I took a train out to Uno Port where I eventually hopped a aboard a ferry that sailed out to Miyanoura Port~ I'd been up mega early to travel there so I enjoyed the glorious morning views of sunshine over the Seto sea whilst eating a strawberry jam sandwich up on the poopdeck!!!!! Most incredible start to the day!!
The first thing I spotted when rolling into Miyanoura was the much anticipated Kusama red pumpkin!! I'd been super excited to see this gem sitting in amongst fishing boats and the likes in the port!!!
Naoshima is a small island and I actually ended up deciding to take to the island entirely on foot simply because I didn't want to miss ANYTHING, so the bus and bike options were out the window!! So glad that I decided to walk the island because it gave me a change to saunter through the towns and enjoy lovely, long walks past fields, orange trees, along the beautiful coastline and through little clusters of houses en route!! Perfect way to see Naoshima! Oooohh and also....there happens to be a WONDERFUL vegan restaurant on the island which I hunted out...my lunch was AMAZING!!!!There are several large galleries on the island and I opted to take in the 'Art House Project' and Benesse House. There were so many places I wanted to check out but these two were top of my list!!!
The art house project was my favourite as it was collection of existing residential properties in the Honoura district that had been interpreted by Japanese artists.
One particular piece, 'Go-o Shrine' by artist, Hiroshi Suhimoto, was especially interesting as there was a set of crafted glass steps leading underground from the shrine into a chamber. People could access the underground chamber two at a time using a torch to find your way~ it was really incredible!!!
I could talk forever about magical Naoshima~ my time on the island was AMAZING....one of the most memorable and awesome places that I have visited in Japan so far!!! Incredibly beautiful!!! Was so great also to get to see some beaches and sea as living inner city here in Seoul I often miss the seaside!! I was lucky that the weather was perfect! It was just beginning to get warmer and it felt really springlike!!
So instead of rambling on anymore, I shall leave you with a bunch of photos from my Japanese adventure!!!!!!
Love and Cherry Blossoms!!!