Worth a Trip: Other Arty Islands
Naoshima and Teshima draw the largest art-loving crowds, leaving Inujima, Megijima and Ogijima for quieter exploration.
The drawcard on Inujima (犬島) is the excellent Inujima Seirensho Art Museum, a copper refinery converted into an eco-building displaying Yukinori Yanagi's surreal take on environmental issues. This is more an interactive experience than a traditional gallery – you enter through a dark maze of mirrors with the burning sun at its end and continue past floating furniture. Inujima also boasts smaller art sites (included in the museum ticket price) converted from Japanese houses, as well as cute little cafes.
Is Megijima (女木島) the mythical Onigi-shima, the 'Ogre's Island' where legendary Momotarō went to fight? Head up to the caves to see the comically colourful ogre statues and you might become a believer – or at least the kids will, while you appreciate the panoramic views. You can also explore the beach and Oni Cafe & Gallery, or Mecon, a work by Shinro Ohtake (of Naoshima Bath "I Love YU" fame) that places neon-coloured frameworks around actual school grounds to express the hope that locals remain on the island.
Tiny Ogijima (男木島) is only 2km long and has even less flat ground among the green mountain tops, but this makes it an interesting 'museum without walls'. The narrow roads, winding up in a maze through the sleepy village, suddenly open onto outdoor art installations. Look for a 'wallalley' – colourful paintings made from discarded lumber and scrapped vessels.
Ferries run between Inujima and Ieura Port (¥1230, 25 minutes, two daily) on Teshima (normally continuing to/from Miyanoura Port), or Hoden Port (¥300, 10 minutes, six to eight daily) on the mainland. A bus from Okayama Station (¥750, one hour, Saturday and Sunday only, three daily during Setouchi Triennale) terminates a two-minute walk from Hoden Port.
A ferry runs six times a day from Takamatsu, calling first at Megijima (¥370, 20 minutes) then Ogijima (¥510, 40 minutes). Warning: the last two ferries to Ogijima give you little or no time to catch the last return ferry!