Day 16: Leaving Naoshima... and finding Osaka!

Trip Start Apr 08, 2010
Trip End May 06, 2010

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Flag of Japan  , Kinki,
Saturday, April 24, 2010

For our last day in Naoshima, after a delicious breakfast, we decided to rent bicycle (at the reception of the Hotel) and to go to Honmura, on the eastern part of the island, to enjoy the last attraction of the island: Art House Project.

Old village houses are converted into art spaces showcasing Japanese and international artists. Combined ticket for 6 projects costs 1000. If you don't have enough time to get around all of them, you may chose to buy "one-site ticket" 400 for 1 project only. We went for the 1000 pass.

* Kadoya “Sea of Time'98”,"Naoshima’s Counter Window" ,"Changing Landscape" by Tatsuo Miyajima. An amazing house too, especially Sea of Time. This artist is famous for using numbers in his art. This project is one of the most beautiful, in an old traditional Japanese house he just built a shallow pond in it they are single digit numbers counting down from 1 to 9 at
different pace. People families from the island each got one device and chose at which speed the count down should be. It is a very soothing place, you can hear water running, and each numbers lighting the pond like fireflies.Have a look at the pictures.

Minamidera “Backside of the Moon” by James Turrell and house by Tadao Ando: an incredible work of art, that you have to "experience"once again. You enter this large house and sit in a dark place for several minutes, until yous eyes get used to the darkness, and suddenly you discover it is not dark at all... Please go!

* Go'oh Jinja (Shrine) “Appropriate Proportion” by Hiroshi Sugimoto - Unfortunately, we did not have time to visit this one.

* Ishibashi
"The Falls" by Hiroshi Senju: One of the few pure painting projects. This very talented painter focuses on recreating Nature, the waterfall project exhibited at this house is
very impressive, simple but dense.

* Haisha "ZETSUJOMU" (Dream tasting on the tongue), "BOKKON peeper hole" by Shinro Ohtake: Probably the most avant garde and scruffy project. Haisha means dentist but I guess we
can say it’s a “play on Kanji” as the Kanji used means things we throw away. It’s hard to describe this house it’s a bit like a conceptual organized chaos of memories.

* Gokaisho “Camellia” by Etsuhiro Suda: Gokaisho means the place to play “Go”, the Japanese chess. This newly built spot is basically two rooms outside with tatami floor, and camellia flowers made of thin wood chip are scattered around. A very romantic and peaceful image.

* Kinza
is the last project, but it is not included in the Art House Project combined ticket. Reservation is required 3 days in advance and we didn't.

This last morning on Naoshima was once again very interesting, and this place deserves even more time to be fully enjoyed and discovered. It won't be this time, but for sure we will come back...

We finally took the ferry back to the mainland, and took a Shinkansen (once again, thank you JR pass ;-) to Shin-Osaka station. We stayed at J'Hoppers Osaka, which is very close to Fukushima station on the Osaka Loop Line, and close to Osaka Station too. J'Hoppers is very similar to K's House, and also has hostels in different cities in Japan (Takayama, Kyoto, Hiroshima...). The place was ok even if the acoustic insulation between the rooms was far from perfect...

Even if it was very sunny in Osaka that day, we decided to go and visit the "Kaiyukan", which is the aquarium of the city and one of the largest public aquarium in the world.

The walk-through aquarium displays several habitats in 16 tanks, along with the marine life inside them. The habitats are from the Ring of Fire area of the Pacific Ocean. The largest tank holds 5,400 cubic metres of water, and a variety of fish including manta rays and a pair of whale sharks.

The tanks used in the aquarium are made of 314 tons of acrylic glass - roughly 1.5 times the world's annual production. The largest single pane measures six meters by five meters by thirty centimeters and weighs roughly 10 tons. At the thicknesses used, regular glass would not only be unwieldy, but would not have a desirable amount of transparency (thank you material sciences ;-).

The Kaiyukan is supposed to be overcrowded, and every websites we read advised to come as early as possible... As far as we are concerned, we arrived at 17:45 (it closes at 20:00), and there was almost no one! Maybe due to the sunny day ;-) Anyway, it was very pleasant to wander in the aquarium in those conditions and to observe all the different species of fish, especially the star of the aquarium : the two huge whale sharks.

When we finally got out of the Kaiyukan, it was time for dinner. As we did not want to come back so quickly to Combini's food after Naoshima's gastronomy, and as we wre so close to Kobe, we decided to go for a SteackHouse restaurant and eat Kobe beef! O. had already selected an address on the internet (those who know him won't be surprised...) and we had asked to the nice girl at the front desk of J'Hoppers to make a reservation for us. Even if the restaurant did not usually take reservations for people without mobile phone number (which was our case), the girl insisted and the reservation was made. She told us later that the owner of the restaurant had asked her if we spoke japanese, and how we heard about this place !...

The restaurant was located close to Dotombori, the busiest place in Osaka at night. This neighbourhood is very famous for restaurant, clubs, and bars, and it never sleeps. When we entered the restaurant, we discovered a tiny room, where everybody (only japanese people...) sat at the "bar" while cooks were preparing food in front of the clients. We took a seat, and a nice cook speaking basic english welcomed us. I will pass you the details, but the dinner was excellent, the meat terrific, and the atmosphere very privileged.

When we finished, the cook came with us to the elevator, asked us where we were coming from, and he seemed so happy to discover we came from France. He kept thanking us for coming to his place, and as the doors of the elevators were closing, we thought it was over. But no, we the doors opened on the 1st floor, the cook was waiting for us, gave us the card of the restaurant and has been thanking us for two more minutes! Just unbelievable !

We finally walked back to the metro station, after wandering a bit in Dotombori, Osaka's Times Square.

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