[To be held in autumn 2024] Guide to the international art festival "The Forest Festival of the Arts Okayama, the Land of Sunshine" - Schedule, Access, etc.

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The Forest Festival of the Arts Okayama: Clear-skies Country will be an international art festival held in the northern half of Okayama Prefecture in the autumn of 2024. We will introduce the outline, schedule, and venue of the Forest Art Festival. We will update the details as the event approaches....

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The Forest Festival of the Arts Okayama Official Site


From ancient times, the Izumo Road linking the provinces of Yamato to the east and Izumo to the west traversed this area, whose castle towns and post towns flourished in early modern times. The area consequently has a legacy of various traditional structures, crafts, and performing arts. Its land and forests yield an abundance of fruit, lumber, and other products.

Various efforts are being made to ensure the sustainability of its blessings. Of particular note is a project making effective use of forest resources in applications such as woody biomass power generation, which has been given high ratings as a progressive model for attainment of SDGs. In addition, the leisurely time and open space represented by the Hiruzen Highlands as well as the three Mimasaka spas, limestone caves, and other features which have not undergone excessive tourism development hold new possibilities in ecological thinking.

The title “Forest Festival of the Arts” was inspired by the forests in this area, which are full of elements that are of vital importance for our lives, including a moderate climate, ample supply of water and other resources, and foodstuffs. They likewise symbolize its diversity and richness as a place of natural bounty and culture, where people come together.

Taking the activation of this bounty born of forests into the future using the power of art as its objective, the festival will pose a question: “what kind of capital do we truly need?” Under an outlook regarding cultural facilities (such as art museums, memorial halls, and schools), life infrastructure (the supply of water, energy, and food), and the natural environment as components of the social common capital, the point is to create new capital through activities by not only artists but also experts (architects, scientists, and ethnologists), with the cooperation of local residents.

Besides reflecting diverse views, art generates empathy with them among viewers and nurtures powers of imagination toward new perspectives on the world and things. This makes people feel surprised, deeply moved, excited, and inspired, as well as the joy of being alive and the sense of fulfillment that comes from profound sensibility and thought. Infused with the energy of art, the ecological system of northern Okayama will be transformed into a topos that refreshes people’s hearts and minds. This festival of residents in the forested part of “clear-skies country” will celebrate this transformation.

Art Director: Yuko Hasegawa

Yuko Hasegawa is a curator, educator and writer based out of Tokyo. She currently holds positions as Director of the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Artistic Director of the Inujima Art House Project and Professor Emeritus of Tokyo University of the Arts. She was Artistic Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo until 2021 and during her post she curated solo exhibitions of Dumb Type, Olafur Eliasson and rhizomatiks amoung others.

She has curated Japanese contemporary art and media and technology extensively both domestically and internationally. Her curatorial language is interdisciplinary, encompassing not simply art but also architecture, design, science and anthropology, and combined with global curating experience, allows her to view art as part of a single, holistic ecology.

Hasegawa has also curated, either solo or in a joint capacity, international art biennials including the 7th International Istanbul Biennial (2001), the Shanghai Biennale (2002), the 29th São Paulo Biennial (2010), the Sharjah Biennial 11 (2013), and the 7th Moscow Biennale (2017), Thailand Biennale, Korat (2021) and also served as art advisor to the 12th Venice Architecture Biennale (2010).

In parallel with her curating roles, as a professor of Curatorial Studies at the Tokyo University of the Arts Graduate School of Global Arts since 2015, Yuko Hasegawa has taught students of multiple nationalities, while continuing to construct curatorial theories and contribute to the development of contemporary art discourse from non-western-centric points of view. She has also written, co-authored and contributed to numerous books, papers and catalogues. Among her most recent publications is New Ecology and Art: Anthropocene as dithering time.

Hasegawa has been honored with the Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, France (2015), the Ordem de Rio Branco, Brazil (2017), and Japan Commissioner for Cultural Affairs Award, the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan (2020).


Concept The visual identity of the festival is inspired by the duality of light and shadow. The delicate fabrics of the local Hinoki studio influenced a series of visual meshes that are used with fresh, contemporary colours creating a feeling of lightness and transparency. These are combined with photography of Okayama’s nature to represent the festival’s symbiotic relationship with the landscape.

Designer: Barnbrook Studio (UK) Barnbrook Studio was founded by Jonathan Barnbrook in 1990. The studio works worldwide on a diverse range of cultural and social projects, believing that design can influence society in a positive way for change. The studio are most well known works for David Bowie record covers including his last album ‘Blackstar’ for which the studio won a grammy. It also has a strong relationship with Japan, creating the branding for Mori Art Museum and Roppongi Hills in Tokyo.


Forest Festival of the Arts Okayama: Clear-skies Country is a project that will unfold in an area comprised of 12 municipalities (cities, towns, and villages). Specifically, these are the cities of Tsuyama, Takahashi, Niimi, Maniwa, and Mimasaka; the towns of Kagamino, Shoo, Nagi, Kumenan, and Misaki; and the villages of Shinjo and Nishiawakura.

This area stretches from the Chugoku Mountains, which separate the Sanyo and Sanin regions, to the Kibi Highlands, and constitutes the upstream district of the three major rivers whose sources are in the Chugoku Mountains (the Yoshii, Asahi, and Takahashi rivers). It has a landscape differing from that of the area along the coast of the Seto Inland Sea in the southern part of the prefecture, and is blessed with many attractive resources. These include abundant greenery and majestic nature, the station towns and castle towns along the old post roads, historic townscapes of communities that flourished as nodes of river transport, and the three Mimasaka spas fed with hot springs water of excellent quality (Yunogo, Okutsu, and Yubara).

Displaying works of art and including related events, the festival will highlight the appeals of the area from new perspectives and deliver a special, out-of-the ordinary experience. The main aims are to promote excursion-oriented tourism, expand the population engaged in interchange, and enhance civic pride, all around the festival as a centerpiece.


Forest Festival of the Arts Okayama: Clear-skies Country

Festival period

September 28th (Sat) - November 24th (Sun), 2024


12 municipalities in Okayama Prefecture (the cities of Tsuyama, Takahashi, Niimi, Maniwa, and Mimasaka; the towns of Kagamino, Shoo, Nagi, Kumenan, and Misaki; and the villages of Shinjo and Nishiawakura)where works of art will be installed

the cities of Tsuyama, Niimi, and Maniwa, and the towns of Kagamino and Nagi

Art Director

Yuko Hasegawa


Forest Festival of the Arts Okayama: Clear-skies Country Executive Committee

Ryuta Ibaragi (Governor of Okayama Prefecture)

Schedule going forward

Autumn, 2024: Holding of the festival


Click here for a list of artists


Area on the periphery of Tsuyama Castle,Tsuyama City

Tsuyama City has a rich history and culture, and is still the central city in the northern part of the prefecture. During the Edo period, the city center was a flourishing castle town on both the east and west sides of Tsuyama Castle (Kakuzan Park), and the wooden buildings built at that time and European-style buildings built in the Meiji and Taisho periods stand side by side, making it a place where you can feel the prosperity and rich history of the past.

Green Hills Tsuyama area,Tsuyama City

Green Hills Tsuyama is a lush park located north of the center of Tsuyama City, spreading across hills overlooking the Chugoku Mountains. Its vast 25-hectare grounds are dotted with cafes, walking paths, flower gardens and more, making it a popular place of relaxation for the local community.

Area in the vicinity of Nagi MOCA,Nagi Town

Nagi Town is located at the southern foot of Mount Nagi, a beautiful peak in the Chugoku Mountains, and you can see its majestic form in harmony with nature throughout the seasons. In addition, by providing comprehensive support for relocation and child-rearing, the town's total fertility rate in 2019 was 2.95, one of the highest in the country, and it is known as a "miracle town" in terms of measures to combat the declining birthrate. The Nagi Museum of Contemporary Art, designed by world-renowned architect Arata Isozaki, is the world's first experiential museum, a public building in which artwork and building are semi-permanently integrated.

Makido Cave area,Niimi City

Niimi City is located in the northwestern corner of Okayama Prefecture, at the source of the Takahashi River, a first-class river. It is an area rich in clear water and nature, with most of the city located on a karst plateau. There are several limestone caves in the city, one of which is Maki-do Cave, a natural monument designated by Maki-do Cave Prefecture. It got its name from the poets Yosano Tekkan and Akiko, who praised it as a cave full of wonders.

Hiruzen area,Maniwa City

Maniwa City is located almost in the Chuo of the Chugoku Mountains in the northern part of Okayama Prefecture. The Hiruzen region, located in the gently sloping plateau in the north, has vast pastureland and is one of the leading areas in Japan for raising Jersey cows. At GREENable HIRUZEN, a tourism and culture hub facility aimed at raising awareness of the value of sustainability among more people, you can enjoy experiencing sustainable living through museums and activities, including the symbolic "Kaze no Ha" designed by architect Kengo Kuma.

Okutsu area,Kagamino Town

Kagamino Town is an area blessed with a rich natural environment, with forests in the background of the Chugoku Mountains. Okutsukei Valley, which runs for 3 kilometers along the Yoshii River, has beautiful, crystal clear water, and in autumn, the area is filled with spectacular autumn leaves and the beautiful valley can be admired. In addition, the "foot-stomping laundry" that takes place at the foot of Okutsu Bridge is a symbolic sight of Okutsu Onsen.

The Forest Festival of the Arts Official Site

Written by

Okayama Prefecture is located in the center of western Japan and is known as the ``Land of Sunny'' due to its mild climate with little rain throughout the year. Conveniently located in the middle of famous sightseeing spots in Kyoto, Osaka, and Hiroshima! It is also the gateway to Shikoku via the Seto Ohashi Bridge. Okayama is also known as the "Fruit Kingdom," and the fruits that have been exposed to the sun in the warm climate of Setouchi are of the highest quality in terms of sweetness, aroma, and taste. You can enjoy seasonal fruits such as white peach, muscat, and pione! There are also world-class sightseeing spots such as ``Okayama Castle'', ``Okayama Korakuen'', one of Japan's three famous gardens, and Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter, which are proud of their history, culture, and art!

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