Spending the day exploring art galleries and museums can be an exhilarating experience for art and culture aficionados but as the sun sets, the doors close and the excitement is put on hold until the next day. At Benesse Art Site Naoshima in the Seto Inland Sea, your escapade doesn’t have to end there. Stay at one of the museum’s four hotels to stay inspired both day and night. With two new galleries added to the facility’s extensive grounds, there’s even more to discover in this enchanting art wonderland.
An Immersive Encounter with Art
Naoshima has evolved into a sanctuary of creativity over the last three decades, transforming the island from a rural speck in the sea to one of the most coveted art destinations in the world. Because of its wealth of museums, galleries and outdoor exhibits, Benesse Art Site Naoshima has too much on offer than can be seen in just one day. Instead, make your trip an immersive stay where the art adventure never ends. A night at one of Benesse’s four luxurious lodgings includes free entry to all the onsite galleries and museums, with the added bonus of exclusive after-hours access to several facilities, when everyone else has gone home.
Choose Your Own Adventure: The Art Hotel
Benesse House Museum is, as its name implies, part of the museum itself and allows guests to remain closest to the onsite artwork. The hotel exhibits paintings, prints and more of featured artists in every room. Meanwhile, Benesse House Park harnesses the surrounding open-air canvas, with views of mountains, lush green lawns, and the open sea. It also boasts after-hours access to Hiroshi Sugimoto Gallery’s sumptuous lounge area, which is reserved exclusively for Park guests once the gallery is closed for the day. For those who want a room with panoramic views, Benesse House Oval is a hilltop retreat overlooking the Seto Inland Sea below. It offers one of the best sweeping views of the horizon thanks to its high vantage point and its floor-to-ceiling windows. The fourth and final hotel is Benesse House Beach, where guests can stay close to the shore and doze off to the gentle lapping of the waves at night.
An Evolving Art Scene
Benesse Art Site Naoshima welcomed two new art galleries in the spring of 2022, the Valley Gallery and the Hiroshi Sugimoto Gallery: Time Corridors. These novel additions borrow from the nature around them, conceptualizing the enveloping environment through a fresh batch of artworks and architecture.
Valley Gallery: Blurring the Lines Between Nature and Art
Located between Benesse House and Chichu Art Museum, Valley Gallery is an open invitation for visitors to get a feel for art when it’s in symbiosis with nature. The venue has a compact trapezoidal space designed by Tadao Ando, inspired by Shinto shrines and their intrinsically spiritual links with nature. Perforations in the building’s steel plates allow light, wind and rain to sift through the gaps, connecting visitors to the world outside, even within its walls. Works on display here include Yayoi Kusama’s “Narcissus Garden,” which is found both indoors and outdoors, while “Slag Buddha 88” by Tsuyoshi Ozawa uses incinerated remains of illegally dumped industrial waste to highlight the importance of nature, art, architecture and local history.
Hiroshi Sugimoto Gallery: Time Corridors
Inside Benesse House Park, visitors have access to an expanded collection of noted multimedia artist Hiroshi Sugimoto’s diverse body of work. The gallery itself was created to connect Naoshima and Enoura in Kanagawa Prefecture’s Odawara City, where Sugimoto’s seminal work, the Enoura Observatory, can be found. His world-touring Glass Tea House “Mondrian” is one of the new additions, together with previously featured works such as “Pine Trees” and more. “Time Corridors” works together with Tadao Ando’s architecture to merge the essence of natural beauty and human-derived creations.
There is much to explore beyond Benesse Art Site Naoshima’s latest installations — Chichu Art Museum’s subterranean venue protects the Setouchi environment by interfering with it as little as possible, while displaying exquisite works by Claude Monet, Walter de Maria and James Turrell using natural light. Lee Ufan Museum is one step closer to the skies as its Tadao Ando-designed building combines above ground and underground elements. Contrasts collide as dynamic landscapes, sleek concrete structures and evocative artworks share the same space. These museums and many more await at Benesse Art Site Naoshima — an immersive art adventure that will last a lifetime.
To find out more and to book your stay at Benesse Art Site Naoshima, visit the official website.