Teshima (豊島) is a rural island in the Seto Inland Sea that joined the nearby islands of Naoshima and Inujima to become an exciting destination for contemporary art in recent years. The island also serves as one of the venues of the Setouchi Triennale art festival that is held once every three years in the region.

The main attraction on Teshima is the Teshima Art Museum, one of the most intriguing contemporary artworks in Japan. Standing amongst terraced rice fields, the simple concrete structure stimulates its visitors' senses with the play of water drops on a concrete surface. Several more artworks are scattered around the island's three fishing villages. Most are open almost everyday, especially the larger museums and outdoor installations, however some of the smaller artworks are only open on weekends and holidays.

Another permanent artwork on the island is Les Archives du Coeur ("Heart Archives"), located in a small building along the beach in the eastern outskirts of Karato. It is one of multiple locations across the world where visitors can make recordings of their heartbeat and listen to the recorded heartbeats of other people in a slightly spooky environment. The same French artist, Christian Boltanski, also created The Last Class at the Echigo Tsumari Art Triennale.

Teshima Art Museum

Teshima is the region's second largest island after Shodoshima. A forested mountain stands in its middle, and a circular road connects its three small fishing villages. Two of the villages have ferry ports, Karato and Ieura, the latter of which is the more important. A half to a full day is needed to explore the peaceful island with its slow-paced atmosphere and rural landscape. Dining, shopping and lodging choices are limited, but note that one artwork, the Shima Kitchen in Karato, also serves as a restaurant.

Without previous knowledge, visitors will not notice that Teshima once made news due to a toxic waste scandal in the 1980s in which a company illegally dumped hundreds of thousands of tons of toxic waste on the western tip of the island. Cleanup efforts were finally completed in 2017.

Shima Kitchen

Access

Getting to Teshima

Teshima is served by two ferry lines. One runs between Teshima's Ieura Port and Takamatsu with some ferries stopping at Honmura Port on Naoshima along the way. The second runs between Uno Port in Okayama and Shodoshima, making stops at both Ieura and Karato Ports on Teshima along the way.

From Takamatsu

Teshima Ferry operates high speed boats between Takamatsu and Ieura Port on Teshima. A small number of these ferries also stop at Naoshima along the way. The one way trip takes 35 minutes and costs 1330 yen. There are five round trips per day when the Teshima Art Museum is open and three round trips a per day on days the museum is closed.

From Naoshima

Some of the Teshima Ferries between Takamatsu and Teshima (Ieura Port) stop at Honmura Port on Naoshima along the way. The one way trip between Naoshima and Teshima takes 20 minutes and costs 620 yen.

From Okayama

Take the JR Uno Line from Okayama to Uno Station. There are direct trains in the early mornings, late afternoons and evenings. Outside of those times, a transfer is required at Chayamachi Station along the way. The one way trip takes about 45 minutes and costs 580 yen.

Shodoshima Ferry operates car ferries between Uno Port and Tonosho Port on Shodoshima approximately every two hours, most of which make stops at Ieura and Karato Ports on Teshima along the way. The trip from Uno to Ieura Port takes 40 minutes and costs 770 yen per person or about 5000 yen for a regular sized car. The trip from Uno to Karato Port takes about an additional 20 minutes and costs 1030 yen per person or around 6000 yen for a regular sized car.

From Shodoshima

The ferry ride from Shodoshima to Karato Port on Teshima takes 30 minutes and costs 480 yen per person or about 4000 yen for a regular sized car. To Ieura Port it takes an additional 20 minutes and costs 770 yen per person or about 5000 yen for a regular sized car.

A ferry arrives at Karato Port

Getting around Teshima

Two shuttle bus lines connects Ieura Port to the other villages and ports around the island. One line operates between Ieura Port and Ko Village (4 per day) while the other operates between Ieura and Karato ports via the Teshima Art Museum (every 1-2 hours). The buses cost a flat 200 yen per ride.

Alternatively, rental bicycles are available at Ieura and Karato Port for 1000 yen for the first four hours and make for a pleasant way to explore the island. Good walkers might even consider walking between the island's villages, which are less than an hour apart from each other.

A shuttle bus

Hours & Fees

Teshima Art Museum

Hours

10:00 to 17:00 (March to September)
10:00 to 16:00 (October to February)
Admissions ends 30 minutes before closing time

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 the official website for the opening calendar

Admission

1540 yen

Les Archives du Coeur

Hours

10:00 to 17:00 (until 16:00 from October to February)
Admission ends 30 minutes before closing)

Closed

Same as the Teshima Art Museum

Admission

510 yen, plus 1540 yen for an optional recording of your heartbeat

Shima Kitchen

Hours

11:00 to 16:00 (food and drink orders end at 14:00)

Closed

Tuesdays to Fridays

Admission

Free (except food and drinks)
Page last updated: November 20, 2016