Long-term readers will know of my love for kabotcha, Japanese pumkpin, although the example above isn’t edible and is actually several metres high. It’s part of an ever-expanding art project on an island off the coast from Okayama called Naoshima. Accessible via train and boat, it’s home to several galleries as well as many outdoor art installations which are located across the island. As you might not be able to gather from the photos, it was about 36 degrees, and whilst I really wanted to spend ages pottering about creating perfects framed shots, I thought I might fall down with heat exhaustion after about three minutes standing still, so ended up going for quick snaps rather than artistic masterpieces!
After getting off the boat, one of the views from which is above, I went straight to hire a bicycle, having read it was the best way to get around. Heading south from the boat terminal I went straight to Benesse House, a modern gallery housing works by Andy Warhol and David Hockney, amongst others. Annoyingly, due to “traffic restrictions” (?! traffic, what traffic!) I had to leave my bike at the top of a hill and walk down to the museum and its collection of outdoor exhibits, so it was great to be in the aircon for a while! I also had an excellent squid ink curry for lunch. Below is a photo of a beach on the way to the main museum building, and home to one of the outdoor exhibits – a frame set on the cliff, which you can just make out:
I was originally planning to look at another set of outdoor exhibits – the Art House Project – but I found myself a bit short of time, and didn’t want to spend on entry and not have enough time to enjoy it all. What I decided to do was the sneaky solution – cycle past some of the sites and have a peak without having to buy the full ticket ;) Then I bought an ice cream and sat down for a well-earned rest!
This was a really good day – when you’re cycling around a peaceful sleepy island with beatiful beaches whilst admiring some world-class artwork, life can’t really get much better. Unless, that is, you are cunning and pack your swimming gear! The beach below even had changing rooms and a shower, so after a quick dip in the beatiful pancake-flat sea, I took a shower, put on some fresh clothes, dropped my bike off and jumped on the ferry back to the mainland. The perfect end to a day that could only have been more perfect by being a few degrees cooler!