So, Western Japan is kind of really amazing. I’ve spent the past 2 days at the gateway, per say, into the western mainland, staying in Okayama and visiting nearby Naoshima Island.
I’ve seen so many picturesque sights yesterday and today that it’s hard to put into words, so I will let some of the many pictures I took do most of the talking.
First, I spent yesterday walking around Okayama’s ‘culture zone’. Centered on Korakuen Garden, another one of Japan’s top three gardens, the area also leads to Okayama Castle, nicknamed the Crow’s Castle because of its black walls. Both the garden and castle really were something. It’s hard for me to describe how artistic all of these places are without you all actually having been there, so my advice is this: go to Japan!
Moving on, today I took a day-trip to Naoshima, an island in the Seto Inland Sea of Japan. The weather was perfect – sunny, clear skies, warm with a breeze. Naoshima is known as the modern art island, complete with bizarre creations plopped in the middle of beaches, plus whole futuristic houses full of displays. The island is small enough to walk around, so I opted for the more flexible and scenic option of walking along the coast and up to the museums.
One of the more famous installations is the Naoshima giant pumpkin (fake, of course). And that’s what it literally is. I had to wait for about 10 minutes to get a picture of just the pumpkin by itself and not with 3 girls hugging it and posing for their own photos.
I then went up to the Benesse House, the focal point of Naoshima’s modern art. The house, designed by a famous Japanese modern architect, has many floors and rooms full of paintings, sculptures, talking robots, rooms that have no roof and open into the sky above. Pictures are prohibited unfortunately, but if you ever make it to Japan (which, like I said earlier, you should if you want to be cool like me), you should definitely have Naoshima on your list.
Aside from the art displays, I spent a lot of time just enjoying the coastline views the island offered. As you may know, we don’t get many spectacular ocean views in good old Cincinnati, so I definitely took my time.
But enough of that, I’ll let you see a glimpse of what I saw:
And some of the outside art:
And lastly, back in front of Okayama Castle: