While I have been to Naoshima island and Teshima island many times so far, I had somehow never been to this area during the period of a large art festival that is held every 3 years, the Setouchi Triennale. The festival is held for eight months with three main sessions, Spring, Summer, and Autumn. In 2019, I finally had the chance to experience the Setouchi Triennale!
Here are some tips for visiting the Setouchi art festival coming from my own experience.
1. Should you take the Ferry or High-speed boat?
There are two types of water transportation; one is the ferry, and the other one is the high-speed boat. If you are going to travel around from island to island to cover all of the exhibitions and installations in a few days, purchasing a 3-day ferry pass might be a good idea. But please watch out, as the name of the pass says, it is only valid for the ferry and not for the high-speed boat!
Since the time schedules of the ferry and the high-speed boat are shown together on the same timetable, it’s a bit confusing and the route operated by ferry is less frequent than that of the high-speed boat, especially between the smaller islands. If you’re a time-constrained traveler, the 3-day pass might not be your best bet if you want to see as much as possible.
2. Rental bicycles
In Teshima island, a rental bike is a must-have item! I definitely recommend you make a reservation on beforehand as I forgot to do so, and I ended up having to run to the rental bike shop near the port which offers bikes on a first-come-first-served basis. Luckily got the last 2 bikes!
This might be the piece of advice you will be most grateful for eventually. You should wear a pair of shoes which are easy to take on and off because there are so many installations where you’ll be required to take off your shoes to get in.
We planned to travel around 5 islands for 3 days. Taking into account the infrequent boat timetable, we were not able to have lunch at a nice restaurant leisurely, so we survived on some snacks which we brought from home.
Since I heard that it can get pretty crowded during the summer session, I wondered whether I should go or not, but I want you to know it’s really worth it! The summer session is held until August 25th and the fall session is from September 28th to November 4th. I can’t wait to go again and cover what I missed this summer.