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February 10, 2016 - Shikoku Trip Info & Artsy Teshima
My name is Mathew Fedley and I teach Science & Math in Suzhou, China. Apart from teaching/tormenting Grade 7 students in my spare time, I also have a passion for travel, walking, onsens and photography. Over 2 weeks in chilly February, I'm planning to drive around Shikoku to see what this small but action packed island has to offer. As such, I'll be posting some user reports which will hopefully inspire people to visit more rural areas of Japan.
For today's post I will cover where I will be travelling, show you how to catch a local ferry along with showing you the main sites on Teshima Island.
Please note that all opinions are mine and do not necessarily represent the owners of this website. Most of the research has come from this website, many helpful posters from the JG forum, some tourist information centres and extensive research. All sites and hotels were paid for my myself and do not include any paid endorsements.
At present, I am planning to visit the following locations:
Takamatsu - Teshima - Naruto - Aki - Kochi - Uwajima - Ozu - Shimanto - Matsuyama - Kotohira - Marugame - Okayama
Do note that I will also be visiting quite a few other locations along the way which are not mentioned above.
As Shikoku is the smallest and quietest of the 4 main islands, I have decided to drive around the island on this occasion. For this to happen - you need to make sure you have an International Drivers licence using the 1949 Geneva convention.
To get to Teshima from Takamatsu - you need to catch the early 7:41 AM Ferry (1330 Yen each way) to get to the island. Do note that the ferry terminal is around a 5-6 minute walk from the train station and the Teshima Ferry is located on dock 4.
At present, quite a few of the art exhibits on Teshima are closed until the Setouchi Triennale which begins soon (it runs every 3 years. As such, I visited the following in this order
(1) Karabitsuhachiman Shrine
(2) Les Archives du Couer
(3) Teshima Art Museum
(4) Yokoo House
(5) Was du liebst
(6) Myokoji Temple on way to Kou
As you can see - the actual boat is quite small and there are only 3 ferries a day in winter. Due to this, I needed to come back at 5:20PM which means that you are on the island for quite a long time. Do note that the ferry takes around 40 minutes one way.
To get around the island, I suggest you either hire an electric bike (1000 yen for me - but I think it's normally 1,500 yen) or catch the local bus which runs irregularly and costs 200 yen. Do note that there are a lot of hills on Teshima so a normal bike or walking will be difficult. Also note that you will get an English and Japanese map of the island with all major attractions shown.
One problem you will face is that almost all art sites do not open until 10AM or 10:30AM in winter. As such, I got to the Teshima Art Museum around 9AM and it did not open for another 90 minutes. So - I decided to leave my bike at the museum and walk down to Karatohama to see my first piece of art - the aptly named "No One Wins".
Probably my favourite part of the island was Les Archives du Coeur which is located on a beautiful beach. It costs 510 yen to enter and they record peoples heart beats. There is also an interesting room with mirrors and a light which turns on when the heart beats. My favourite part was also the most expensive - recording my own heart for 1,540 yen. They also play your heart individually in the art space which is quite cool - plus you get a CD of your heart for 40 seconds.
At around 11AM - I caught a bus up to my bike from Karatohama Port to Teshima Art Museum. This is an interesting but pricy exhibit (1,540) which involves you watching water moving along concrete in a strange space. Do note that I would not visit here when it is raining as the exhibit would not be the same. Expect to spend around 20-40 minutes here.
One of the more interesting non-art sites is located in Karatooka. Here - you can see an area where the water is always cold and the locals used to use it as a fridge. Even though the water in the pool looks rancid you could actually drink the water that entered the pool. It tasted not bad....
Back at Ieura Part was the Yokoo House, which costs 510 yen to enter and has art and a Japanese garden that looks mainly like it was created by someone on acid. The garden is quite interesting but the most normal piece of artwork is the tower which has a mirror on the bottom with pictures of waterfalls on the walls.
Was du liebst is located quite close to the Yokoo house and costs either 300 yen to enter or you can purchase food or a drink for entry instead. It's mildly interesting but I did not notice that this is one of the only sites you can take photos in so I was spitting chips when I noticed this on the way out!
As I had plenty of time to kill, I decided to ride my bike to Kou which did not much apart from kill some time. In general, I found that Teshima was a very pretty island but being on the island for 9 hours was too long when all of the sites were not open. My next post will be from Naoshima - which is the most populous art island in the area. I have also visited some of the main sites of Takamatsu including the fantastic Ritsurin Koen garden but I'll write about this after my visit to Naoshima as I still have a few places to visit.
Art on Teshima: http://setouchi-artfest.jp/en/artworks-artists/artworks/teshima/ (In English)
Teshima Ferry: http://benesse-artsite.jp/en/access/ (In English)