Teshima Art Museum


2015 saw me back on an airplane and travelling overseas for the first time in three years. Destination: Japan! The highlight of my 18 day trip was Teshima Art Museum - one of the most amazing experiences I have had with architecture/art in my entire life and somewhere I highly recommend if you are in the area.

Where is it and how do you get there? Located on the island of Teshima in the Seto Inland Sea, it is accessible by ferry. My partner and I stayed in the port city of Uno where it is easy access by ferry to both Naoshima and Teshima islands. I highly recommend Uno Slope House for accommodation - easy to get around and Max is super friendly and full of information! We were there late November and you need to be aware of what days the art galleries are open on the islands as they are not open every day and differ with the seasons. Weekdays are recommended if you want to try and avoid the crowds.

Disembarking from the ferry on Teshima island. November 2015.
We arrived on the island late Monday morning for a half day and decided it probably was not worth hiring a bike. This was a huge mistake as we didn't realise how far away the museum was from Karato Port and it slowed us down a lot when trying to check out other art installations on the island within a limited time period. Lots of fast walking. We were fortunate to be offered a ride up to the museum from the friendly old man who sells the return ferry tickets, but there is also a bus service.

Ticket sales entrance, Teshima Art Museum. November 2015.
The Teshima Art Museum was designed to echo the shape of a drop of water and appear to be part of the external landscape of hills and slopes. It is an experiential space that plays with sound, water and light to create something wonderful and thought provoking. It is hard to explain how I felt during my time inside the museum (apart from wishing I could take photos!). All I can say is that it is something worth experiencing. It was a crisp, sunny autumn day when we visited but I think it would be interesting to see in all types of weather.

Teshima Art Museum. November 2015.
I could have spent the entire day in there, but we wanted to try and get to some other art installations on the island such as Les Archives du Coeur. Before leaving the museum we decided to have lunch at the cafe. I am a big fan of bagels after a trip to New York City in 2011 and was happy to see they had a nice set lunch with a bagel, tea and a cauliflower soup which was delicious. It's also a great space to unwind, discuss your experience with your fellow traveller and buy a copy of the Teshima Art Museum Handbook.

The cafe and shop at Teshima Art Museum. November 2015.
Lunch at Teshima Art Museum. November 2015.
I didn't know a lot about Teshima Art Museum before I went and it blew me away. Along with other art installations on both Teshima and Naoshima islands, this is the first thing I think about whenever I remember my first time travelling through Japan and is always the first thing I recommend to people who ask.

Teshima Art Museum. November 2015.
Teshima Art Museum. November 2015.

Matthew Burgess

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