Fabulous Views! Okayama - The Gateway To The Setouchi Triennnale 2019

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The Setouchi Triennale 2019 is held July 19 - August 25 (Summer Gatherings) and September 28 - November 4 (Fall Expansions). Visitors can access the venues from Okayama, which boasts wonderful sights and delicious fruit.


Okayama - Great Access to the Islands of Naoshima, Teshima, and Inujima

Uno Port

Uno Port. Picture courtesy of Okayama Prefectural Tourism Federation

This year's Setouchi Triennale 2019, one of Japan's major contemporary art festivals, started in April, 2019. Although the twelve island sites can be easily reached from both Okayama and Kagawa, Okayama offers easier access to the islands of Naoshima, Teshima, and Inujima.

JR Okayama Station, a major transportation hub, is only two hours away from Kansai International Airport by express trains and the Shinkansen. Visitors can save on transportation costs by using the Japan Rail Pass.

Okayama is famous for its excellent fruit, as well as for Kurashiki, a city known for its Edo Period townscape and art museums. This article explains how to go from Okayama to the island sites of Setouchi Triennale, along with the appeals of Okayama as a travel destination.

The Islands - Naoshima, Teshima, and Inujima

Inujima Island

Inujima. Picture courtesy of Okayama Prefectural Tourism Federation

Naoshima, a treasure trove of contemporary art, is home to famous works of art such as the Chichu Art Museum designed by architect Ando Tadao and the "Red Pumpkin" by Kusama Yayoi.

Teshima is where the world-renowned Teshima Art Museum is located. It is also famous for its excellent local cuisine.

The Inujima Seirensho Art Museum, built in a renovated former copper refinery, and Inujima Life Garden, a botanical garden that reflects the natural environment and culture of the island, are both located on Inujima Island.

Inujima "Art House Project", which displays work of art inspired by the island, is another appeal of this site.

Recently, Naoshima and Teshima have become popular destinations and are frequented by visitors from abroad, while Inujima attracts art enthusiasts with its unique heritage that supported the modernization of the island.

Uno, Hoden, and Ushimado - The Gateways to the Islands

From Okayama, the islands introduced above can be reached from the ports of Uno, Hoden, and Ushimado.

Uno Port: To Naoshima and Teshima

Uno Port

Picture courtesy of Okayama Prefectural Tourism Federation

Uno Port is just one hour away by train from JR Okayama Station and is convenient for those visiting Naoshima and Teshima. The ferry terminal can be reached in only five minutes from JR Uno Station.

There are twenty daily boats to Naoshima from Uno Port. The one-way fare is 290 yen, and the ride takes about twenty minutes.

On the other hand, ten boats depart daily for Ieura Port in Teshima. The one-way fare is 770 yen, and the ride takes 25 to 40 minutes, depending on the route.

Uno Port

Ozawa Atsushi, Memory of Ship's Hull (top left), Beyond the Last Stop (bottom left)
Yodogawa Technique, Boar of Maniwa (top right. This artwork was transferred from Maniwa in Okayama and will be on display during the Triennale. ©Yodogawa Technique)
Esther Stocker, JR Uno Port Line Art Project (bottom right)

Uno Port is one of the sites of the Triennale and has unique works on display.

During Setouchi Triennale 2019, a project titled "IN TRANSITION/IN PROGRESS" is on display at the terminal building. This is an LED-illuminated signage, reflecting the history of the facility. Other works will also be on display during the Summer Gatherings.

Hoden Port: From Okayama Station to Inujima

Hoden Port

Picture courtesy of Okayama Prefectural Tourism Federation

Hoden Port, located in Okayama City, is the best place to access Inujima from. There are eight daily boats departing for Inujima during the art festival. The one-way fare is 300 yen, and the ride takes about ten minutes.

There is a direct bus service from JR Okayama Station to the port. For details, please check the Ryobi Bus timetable.

Okayama Kyobashi: To Inujima and Ushimado Port

Okayama Kyobashi Cruise

Picture courtesy of Okayama Prefectural Tourism Federation

The Okayama Kyobashi Cruise runs daily during the Triennale. The cruise connects Kyobashi, located in the central area of Okayama City, to Inujima and Ushimado Port.

The cruise allows visitors to spend some time in Okayama City before heading to the Triennale. For details please check the official website.


Picture courtesy of Okayama Prefectural Tourism Federation

Ushimado is famous for its scenery reminiscent of the Aegean Sea. At Ushimado Olive Garden, visitors can purchase food items and cosmetics made with olives from the garden. It is also a perfect spot to enjoy great views of the sea.

Besides the routes mentioned above, there are other various ways to reach the islands. For further details, please check the official website of the Setouchi Triennale.

Three Things to Enjoy in Okayama

There are many things to enjoy in Okayama, especially fine food and historic places. We introduce some of its appeals below. Consider enjoying them along with the Triennale.

1. Fruit: The Pride of Okayama

Okayama has a warm climate and long hours of sunshine. The fruit produced here is sweet, fragrant, and tasty. Grapes such as Shine Muscat and peaches are some of the delicious fruit made in Okayama. They are well known for their quality both in Japan and overseas.


Fruit Parfait, Hotel Granvia Okayama. Picture courtesy of Okayama Prefectural Tourism Federation

There are several cafes offering superb fruit desserts. One of them is Lobby Lounge Lumière at Hotel Granvia Okayama, which offers parfaits with generous layers of rose petals, lychee jelly, and peach.


Pancakes, Riku. Picture courtesy of Okayama Prefectural Tourism Federation

Riku, also located in Okayama City, offers fluffy pancakes topped with fruit.

Okayama Zeppin Fruits Meguri is a campaign promoting limited fruit menus at more than 200 cafes and restaurants held from July 1 to September 30, 2019. There will be a wide variety of really photogenic and tasty dishes, so don't miss it.

2. The Edo-Priod Townscape of Kurashiki


Picture courtesy of Okayama Prefectural Tourism Federation

Kurashiki, located close to Okayama City, is home to the Ohara Art Museum, which houses European paintings by the masters such as El Greco and Claude Monet.

Other great places of interest are found in the Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter, where the Edo-Period (1603-1868) townscape is preserved. Visitors can enjoy the beautiful scenery during a boat trip down the river, along with stylish cafes and souvenir shops.

3. Okayama Korakuen Garden


Picture courtesy of Okayama Prefectural Tourism Federation

Okayama Korakuen, located in the central area of Okayama City, is one of Japan's three most beautiful gardens, earning three stars in the Michelin Green Guide Japan. Visitors can enjoy here a different scenery every season.

Okayama Castle stands next to Korakuen. As the black lacquer paint resembles the color of glossy raven feathers, the castle is also called Ujo (Crow Castle). It is one of the most popular spots in Okayama Prefecture.

Special Events in Okayama


Picture courtesy of Okayama Prefectural Tourism Federation

Genso Teien is an illumination event held at Okayama Korakuen from August 1 to 31, starting at 18:00, and ending at 21:30. The garden grounds, along with Okayama Castle, will be beautifully illuminated. Visitors can enjoy the scenery with drinks at the beer hall and bar. A special program that offers visitors a chance to wear yukatas (summer kimonos) is also scheduled.

To fully appreciate the nocturnal appeals of Okayama, how about spending the night in the area? Those planning to stay near Okayama should take a look at the official website of the Okayama Prefectural Tourism Federation. It can be viewed in various languages, such as English and Traditional Chinese.

Exciting Tours during the Setouchi Triennale

Setouchi Triennale

Pictures courtesy of Okayama Prefectural Tourism Federation

La Malle de Bois is a sightseeing train departing from JR Okayama Sation, stopping at Uno, Onomichi, a popular spot in Hiroshima, and Kotohira Shrine in Kagawa.

Passengers can also enjoy art on this train along with Okayama souvenirs, so the ride should add to the festive atmosphere of the Triennale. Tickets can be purchased at the JR ticket offices called Midori no Madoguchi, which are found in every major JR station.

There will also be a bus tour between Uno and Kurashiki. Those interested should check the Nippon Travel Agency site (Japanese).

Main image courtesy of Yodogawa Technique.
Sponsored by Okayama Prefectural Tourism Federation.

The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting.