Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
  • Hokkaido
Sub-zero temperatures and the greatest of outdoor environments, complemented by sizzling soul food and warm-hearted welcomes. Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Sleek apple-red and electric-green shinkansen whisk you up to a haven of fresh powder snow, fresh fruit and fearsome folk legends Fearsome festivals, fresh powder and vast fruit orchards—the rugged northern territory of Tohoku offers a fresh perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
Mountains and sea meet in one of Japan's wildest regions, and the result is sheer beauty. Once largely inaccessible, Hokuriku is now reachable by shinkansen from Tokyo in a matter of hours An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Characterized by the constant buzz of the world's most populous metropolitan area, the Kanto region is surprisingly green with an array of escapes that include mountainous getaways and subtropical islands Experience diversity at its fullest, from the neon of Tokyo to the ski slopes of Gunma, exotic wildlife of the Ogasawara Islands and cultural heritage of Kamakura
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Served by the shinkansen line that connects Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, the Tokai region provides plenty of interesting diversions and easy excursions Tokai means "eastern sea," and this region stretches east from Tokyo to Kyoto and includes blockbuster attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
From raucous nights out to outdoor thrills to peaceful reverie, trying to categorize the Kansai region is a futile task The Kansai region is one of extreme contrasts—the neon lights of Osaka and glittering Kobe nightscape, the peaceful realms of Shiga, Wakayama and Nara, and the cultured refinement of Kyoto
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Less-traveled and delightfully inaccessible at times, the Chugoku region is a reminder that the journey is sometimes more important than the destination Welcome to Japan's warm and friendly western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Providing the stage for literary classics, fevered dancing and natural wonders Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
Easily reached by land, sea and air, the dynamic Kyushu prefectures are bubbling with energy, culture and activity The southern island of Kyushu is home to volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky, succulent seafood, steaming hot springs and the country's hottest entrepreneurial town
  • Okinawa
Ruins and recreated castles of the Ryukyu kings nestle amid magnificent beaches in Okinawa, a diver's paradise teeming with an amazing array of coral and undersea life Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings


Naoshima 直島

A tiny island transforms itself into a thriving nexus of world-class modern art

Of all the islands that dot the Seto Inland Sea, Naoshima is an inspiring new benchmark for art and cultural tourism. Through the auspices of Benesse Holdings, Inc., the island has reinvented itself as a world-class hub for modern art. Although small in size (about 8 kilometers square), Naoshima houses works by some of the largest names in contemporary art and architecture—Yayoi Kusama, Claude Monet, James Turrell and Tadao Ando—to name but a few. The island attracts thousands of visitors per year, with numbers swelling for the Art Setouchi Triennale.


  • Take a photograph of Yayoi Kusama's iconic pumpkin sculpture
  • Indulge in a soak at Naoshima Bath [ I love YU] - an art facility designed inside a working bathhouse
  • Admire the works of Claude Monet at the Chichu Art Museum
  • Attend one of the world's most unique art fairs - Art Setouchi Triennale

How to Get There

Access to Naoshima Island is by ferry. Naoshima can be reached via two ports, Miyanoura Port on the west side of the island, and Honmura Port on the east side. Ferries to Naoshima depart from the city of Takamatsu and Uno Port in Okayama.

To get around the island, visitors can rent electric bicycles from Miyanoura Port. Buses also run from Miyanoura Port to the Bennesse House complex entrance. From here, free shuttle buses operate to Benesse House itself, the Lee Ufan Museum and the Chichu Art Museum.

Modern art with a view

One of Naoshima's most popular museums is Benesse House. Designed by acclaimed Japanese architect Tadao Ando and serving as both a museum and hotel, Benesse House sits on top of a plateau and has spectacular views of the Seto Inland Sea.

The museum features site-specific works from some of the world's most famous contemporary artists. Outside the museum and along the coastline, visitors can discover more artworks scattered amongst the natural surrounds. Artist Yayoi Kusama's "Pumpkin" is a social media favorite.

Admire Claude Monet's Waterlilies

Visitors to the Chichu Art Museum can admire five paintings from the Water Lilies series by Claude Monet. The museum is built almost entirely underground so as not to impose on the surrounding landscape. Monet's paintings are located in a striking white room, where natural light and ambience change throughout the day.

Monet's influence continues outside in Chichu Garden, where you can see nearly 200 kinds of flowers and trees inspired by Monet's own garden in Giverny.

Art? you're bathing in it

Naoshima Bath [ I love YU] is an actual sento or public bath that doubles up as an art installation featuring works by Japanese artist Shinro Ohtake. An eclectic variety of art pieces are displayed, from wall murals to a stuffed baby elephant. Chat with the locals, relax, unwind, and admire modern art from the comfort of your bath.

Co-existence between art and architecture

The Lee Ufan Museum is a collaboration between Japanese architect Tadao Ando and Korean artist Lee Ufan, a renowned member of Japan's 1970s Mono-ha art movement. The museum serves as a gateway to tranquility, where minimalism invites reflection and contemplation.

An open-air art triennale that's making waves

With a mandate to revive local aging and shrinking communities, the 108-day Art Setouchi Triennale spans 12 islands of the Seto Inland Sea. Artworks are divided into three sessions — spring, summer and fall — and include site-specific sculptures, exhibitions and installations. The Setouchi Art Festival also hosts events, lectures and workshops to achieve its educational and program goals.

Observe the interplay between art and everyday life

A collaboration between art and architecture in the context of community and urban renewal, the Art House Project sees emerging and established artists transform houses into galleries, or works of art in themselves.

While it's possible to see the main artworks at Benesse Art Site Naoshima within a 24-hour period, the island and surrounds really merit a longer stay. Benesse House Hotel caters to a mid-to-upper clientele, however, a wider range of options can be found at Takamatsu. All accommodation must be booked well in advance of the triennale high season.