Setouchi Culture and Art Course
- in Kansai International Airport, via Haneda/Narita airports / out Hiroshima Airport
Including popular comparisons of famous castles, experience traditional culture by taking Bizen pottery and sword tours, or a tour of modern art islands in the Setonaikai (The Inland Sea)
INKansai International Airport, via Haneda/Narita airports
50 min on Express HARUKA from JR Kansai-airport Sta. to JR Shin-Osaka Sta., 28 min on Shinkansen to JR Himeji Sta., and then 20 min on foot
1 Himeji Castle (Hyogo)
Famous for its white walls, Himeji Castle is registered as a World Heritage Site. Built some 400 years ago and standing tall today in its original beauty, the five-layered, seven-storied main keep is a must-see.
20 min on foot to JR Himeji Sta., and then 19 min on Shinkansen to JR Okayama Sta.
IN JR Okayama Sta.
35 min by train from JR Okayama Sta. to JR Imbe Sta.
2 Explore Imbe
Boasting a history going back 1,000 years, Imbe is the hometown of Bizen pottery, one of the Japan’s oldest forms of pottery. With more than 100 potteries and galleries, the old townscape of Imbe is an ideal walking area filled with buildings made with red brick chimneys and endless Bizen pottery roof tiles.
Don’t miss these locations! Bizen Pottery
Taking advantage of the texture of soil and fire, Bizen pottery is characterized by its naturally burned-in pattern. Bizen pottery comes in a rich variety of shapes and uses, including tea utensils and vases.
10 min by train from JR Imbe Sta. to JR Osafune Sta., and then 10 min by taxi
3 Bizen Osafune Japanese Sword Museum
The museum displays a variety of Japanese swords. Visitors can also watch the sword-making process in the adjacent facility. (*Dates and times limited. Confirmation required.) For those who enjoy Japanese culture, this is a must-see location.
10 min by taxi to JR Osafune Sta., and then 30 min by train to JR Okayama Sta.
- Overnight stay in Okayama City Okayama Bara-zushi (sushi)
20 min by train from JR Okayama Sta. to JR Chayamachi Sta. (train change), 25 min to JR Uno Sta., walk to Uno Port, and then 40 min by boat
3 hrs 30 min
One of the islands setting the stage for the Setouchi Triennale, Teshima is dotted with art museums, including the Teshima Art Museum, and art works that fuse nature, art, and architecture. The rent-a-cycle and baggage deposit location near the port make it easy to unburden oneself and enjoy a landscape tour of the island.
Teshima Art Museum Photo: Noboru Morikawa
25 min by boat *Please check timetable in advance.
5 Inujima Island
One of the islands setting the stage for the Setouchi Triennale, Inujima Island once flourished as hotspot in the quarrying and copper refining industries. Visitors can experience the charmingly slow pace of island culture while enjoying the rich nature surrounded by the sea.
6 Inujima Island Seirensho Art Museum
The museum is a site that preserves and repurposes the remains of a copper refinery on the island. Representing a new attempt at combining modern industry with the arts, the museum treats visitors to an extraordinary environment. At the cafe in the museum, visitors can taste the recipes loved by Inujima Island islanders.
Inujima Island Seirensho Art Museum Photo：Daici Ano
7 Inujima Island “Art House Project”
Developed by artistic director Yuko Hasegawa and architect Kazuyo Sejima, the Inujima Island “Art House Project” works to develop the village of Inujima Island through galleries that bring together art aficionados, works of art, and the island’s landscape. Visitors are invited to experience the unique charm offered by the differences found from door to door.
Former site of a stonecutter's house
Yusuke Asai : Listen to the Voices of Yesterday Like the Voices of Ancient Times, 2013
Photo: Takashi Homma
10 min by boat from Inujima Island to Nishihouden, 2 min on foot, 30 min by bus from Houden Port, and then 20 min by train from JR Saidaiji Sta. to JR Okayama Sta. *Please check timetable in advance.
- Overnight stay in Okayama City Japanese Sake
20 min by train from JR Okayama Sta. to JR Chayamachi Sta. (train change), and then 25 min by train to JR Uno Sta.
8 Uno Port and Surrounding Areas
The bustling Uno Port acts as the gateway to the nearby islands where the Setouchi Triennale takes place, including Naoshima Island and Teshima. With art pieces, cafes, and galleries scattered about nearby, Uno Port offers an enjoyable experience both before departure and upon return.
20 min by boat from Uno Port to Miyaura Port *Please check timetable in advance.
9 Naoshima Island
Naoshima Island is focused on the Setouchi Triennale. With an underground museum and the Naoshima Island “Art House Project,” Naoshima Island is dotted with art museums and art spots where you can experience modern art. Visitors are also able to take commemorative photographs beside some works to commemorate their journeys.
“Red Pumpkin” (C) Yayoi Kusama,2006 Naoshima Island Miyanoura Port Square Photo:Daisuke Aochi
20 min by boat from Miyaura Port to Uno Port, 25 min by train from JR Uno Sta. to JR Chayamachi Sta. (train change), and then 20 min by train to JR Okayama Sta.
- Overnight stay in Okayama City Fruit Parfait
5 min from JR Okayama Sta. to “Shiroshita” via tram, and then 10 min on foot
10 Okayama Korakuen Garden
1 hr 30 min
A popular destination for those visiting Okayama, Okayama Korakuen Garden is one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan. This beautifully tended garden of grass and trees offers a chance to experience the majestic “garden culture” of Japan. No matter the season, Okayama Korakuen Garden is an impressive sight year-round.
Don’t miss these locations! Matcha (green tea) Experience
Inside Okayama Korakuen Garden, visitors are encouraged to enjoy a break while experiencing the uniqueness of matcha (green tea) at the Sazanami Teahouse or the Fukuda Teahouse.
Okayama’s famous kibi dango can also be found at either location.
10 min on foot
11 Okayama Castle
Okayama Castle, with its eye-catching black keep, is one of Japan’s top 100 castles. From the top floor, visitors are treated to a 360-degree view overlooking Korakuen Garden and Okayama City for a taste of life as a feudal lord. Visitors are also encouraged to stop by the numerous exhibitions and commemorative photo spots within the castle.
Don’t miss these locations! Kimono and Bizen Pottery Experience
The Bizen Pottery Workshop in the keep offers visitors the chance to experience Bizen pottery-making firsthand, while the second floor gives castle-goers a chance to dress up in a kimono for free. (*Please check in advance regarding available times.)
10 min on foot to “Shiroshita,” 5 min to JR Okayama Sta. via tram, 20 min by train to JR Kurashiki Sta., and then 15 min on foot
12 Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter
Designated as a Important Preservation District for Groups of Traditional Buildings, Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter features beautiful white-walled kura (storehouses) and machiya (traditional townhouses) lining the Kurashiki River. Visitors can enjoy strolling among the district’s buildings and visiting the many souvenir shops, galleries, and cafes within.
Don’t miss these locations! Traditional Boat Tour of Kurashiki Canal
While floating leisurely down the Kurashiki River on a river boat, passengers will be treated to an elegant time looking out over the white walls lining the Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter.
13 Ohara Museum of Art
1 hr 30 min
The symbol of the Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter, the Ohara Museum of Art is an eye-catching, Greek architecture-inspired building. Inside, visitors can enjoy such world-famous paintings and work such as one of El Greco’s “Annunciation” and Claude Monet’s “Water Lilies.”
- Overnight stay in Kurashiki City The Nighttime Scenic Lighting of the Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter
20 min by train from JR Kurashiki Sta. to JR Okayama Sta., and then 34 min on Shinkansen to JR Hiroshima Sta.
14 Hiroshima Sightseeing
Enjoy a tour of the various sights Hiroshima has to offer, including three World Cultural Heritage Sites: Miyajima, Itsukushima-jinja Shrine, and the Peace Memorial Park.