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Home - Travel - Sightseeing Guide - Chugoku
Inujima Island 
# 163   of 178 destinations
in our travel guide

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Inujima (, literally: "dog island") is a small island off Okayama in the Seto Inland Sea that is named after a large rock resembling a sitting dog. Like nearby Naoshima Island, Inujima has become known as a site for modern art in recent years and serves as a venue of the Setouchi Triennale modern art festival. Due to its small size, the peaceful island can be explored entirely on foot.

Before turning to modern art, Inujima was mostly an industrial site. During the feudal age it produced granite blocks for castle construction, and in the early 20th century a copper refinery was supposed to bring prosperity and people to the island. However, copper prices plummeted within ten years of the refinery's opening and led to its premature closure and a drop in the island's population.

The refinery was not demolished after its closure, and despite being out of business for almost a century, its ruins still characterize Inujima's landscape. Designated as a "heritage of industrial modernization", the ruins with their exposed brick walls, overgrown power plant and crumbling smokestacks can now be explored by tourists.

In 2008, the refinery ruins were converted into the Inujima Seirensho Art Museum ("seirensho" is Japanese for "refinery") by tastefully incorporating an art gallery into the ruins. The gallery is located mostly underground and uses local materials such as granite and discarded bricks from the refinery. Among the small number of artworks on display are an intriguing tunnel of mirrors and a tribute to the late novelist Mishima Yukio, which consists of pieces of Mishima's former residence suspended in midair.

Admission tickets to the art museum are purchased at a Inujima Ticket Center next to the ferry terminal, a 200 meter walk from the refinery's gates. While in the past it was necessary to make advance reservations for a guided tour of the site, it is now possible to explore it on an individual basis without prior appointment.

Village on Inujima

The rest of Inujima is occupied by a small rural village, which is home to about one hundred people. Scattered across the small, peaceful village are the five galleries of the Inujima Art House Project which were built for the art festivals in 2010 and 2013 and have become permanent attractions on the island. They can all be explored in a pleasant 1-2 hour walk through the narrow lanes of the village.

Dining, shopping and lodging options are highly limited on the island. A couple of small restaurants are found in the proximity of the port, including a cafe inside the Inujima Ticket Center. The Seirensho Art Museum also has a cafe on its grounds, but outside of summer it is sometimes closed even when the museum is open. A beach with campground is found on the opposite side of the island, about a ten minute walk from the ferry terminal.

One of the art house projects found in the village on Inujima

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How to get there
From Okayama   (How to get to Okayama)

Take the JR Ako Line from Okayama to Saidaiji Station (20 minutes, 240 yen, two trains per hour) and change to a bus bound for Higashi Hoden (`). Get off at the Nishi Hoden (`) bus stop (1 hour, 510 yen, 3-4 departures per day), which is a short walk from the ferry terminal from where ferries leave for Inujima once every 1-2 hours (10 minutes, 300 yen one way). See timetable.

From Naoshima   (How to get to Naoshima Island)

Three ferries per day operate between Naoshima (Miyanoura Port) and Inujima, except on Tuesdays from March to November. In winter, the ferries operate from Friday to Monday only. Ferries operate on national holidays, but not on days that the art facilities are closed. Some ferries make a stop at Teshima along the way. The one way trip between Naoshima and Inujima takes about 40-60 minutes and costs 1850 yen.

Hours and Fees
Inujima Seirensho Art Museum & Inujima Art House Project
Hours:10:00 to 16:30 (entry until 16:00)
Closed:Tuesdays (around the year), Wednesdays and Thursdays (from December to February)
If a national holiday falls onto one of the above listed closing days, the museum is open on the national holiday but closed on the following day instead. If a national holiday falls onto a Monday, the museum is also open on Tuesday but closed on Wednesday.
Check official website for opening calendar.
Admission:2060 yen

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User Ratings
Ratings for Inujima Island:
japan-guide.com Rating:
  outstanding  
User Rating (by 8 users):
90/100
  highly recommended

Best rated destinations (out of 164):
14.  Miyako Island   91/100
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16.  Kamakura   91/100
17.  Nara   91/100
18.  Yamadera   90/100
19.  Inujima Island   90/100
20.  Shiretoko   90/100
21.  Dewa Sanzan   89/100
22.  Hiroshima   89/100
23.  Kiso Valley   89/100
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158.  Morioka   35
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160.  Tomonoura   33
161.  Naruko Gorge   28
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163.  Inujima Island   24
164.  Manza Onsen   23
165.  Usuki   17
166.  Appi Kogen   17
167.  Kunisaki Peninsula   16

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English Links
Benesse Art Site - Inujima
Official English website.

Japanese Links
Benesse Art Site - Inujima
Official website.

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