Fishing boats at the Honmura port on Naoshima.

Crossing Naoshima from Miyanoura to Honmura

Miyanoura

Taking a shower in the morning, the electrical power lines are right outside the window. Electrical power service in Japan is always clearly visible.

Electrical power lines in Miyanoura on Naoshima.

I got a big breakfast at the Little Plum, a short distance from where I was staying at Domi Kowloon.

Salad, pickled vegetables, roll, scrambled eggs, sausages, and yogurt with jam. Plus coffee and water.

Breakfast at the Little Plum cafe in Miyanoura on Naoshima.

It was a darker day. I first walked down to the port. I needed to get my tickets for the Art House Project at the visitor center in the ferry terminal.

Miyanoura port on Naoshima.

Some of the housing looks pre-fabricated, stacked like shipping containers.

Container apartments in Miyanoura on Naoshima.
Container apartments in Miyanoura on Naoshima.

Crossing the Island

There is a bus you can take across the island for just ¥100. But it's a pleasant walk, just a little over two kilometers with plenty to see along the way.

I'm leaving Miyanoura, walking across the island to Honmura.

Leaving Miyanoura on Naoshima.

I soon come to a small shrine along the road.

Along the road from Miyanoura to Honmura on Naoshima.
Along the road from Miyanoura to Honmura on Naoshima.

A box of flags is across the road. Later I come to a similar box further along the road. The section of road in between is narrow, like all the roads on the island, with small to non-existent shoulders and plenty of up and down to limit visibility. There is a school further along my walk. Children can pick up a flag, carry it for visibility, and deposit it in the box at the other end of that stretch.

This is the only school on the island, an elementary and junior high school. For high school, students take the ferry to Uno.

Elementary and junior high school along the road from Miyanoura to Honmura on Naoshima.

Houses are squeezed in between the hillside and the roadway.

Houses along the road from Miyanoura to Honmura on Naoshima.

Here comes that ¥100 cross-island bus, decorated with bright Yayoi dots. Unless I'm hallucinating the bus.

Colorful bus on the road from Miyanoura to Honmura on Naoshima.

Almost all agriculturally promising land within Japan is used. There are almost no lawns of useless grass.

Along the road from Miyanoura to Honmura on Naoshima.

Honmura

I'm coming into the edge of Honmura.

Gas station in Honmura on Naoshima.

This is the new city hall.

City hall in Honmura on Naoshima.

Art House Project

The Art House Project was created by Benesse. They turned six traditional buildings over to contemporary artists, who then turned them into installations.

The Haisha House used to be a dentist's home and office. Now a space has been opened through both floors and the attic, housing a Statue of Liberty replica.

Haisha House, an Art House Project installation in Honmura on Naoshima.
Haisha House, an Art House Project installation in Honmura on Naoshima.

The bathroom is an exhibit of its own.

To art house in Honmura on Naoshima.

I turn north and follow narrow lanes through Honmura. The next Art House is a former rice warehouse.

To art house in Honmura on Naoshima.

I get lunch at one of the few restaurants. Salad, and curry rice with prawn and an onion ring. It's hard to predict the schedules of restaurants, bars, and cafes. Many are closed one day a week, but they pick different days. Most are open a few hours around meal times, but not to any standard schedule. Maybe 1630-1830, or maybe 1800-2000.

Lunch in Honmura on Naoshima.

Moving on, I pass many electrical meters. Japanese residential electrical service is 100V AC. There is two phase power at the pole, so you could get 200V for an oven or furnace or air conditioner.

Most homes have just 30 amp service, for 3,000 watts total. Some have both phases for 6,000 watts total, with the added service for major appliances and air conditioning.

A typical US blow-drier requires 1,600 watts, over half the total electrical power available to a typical Japanese home.

In the U.S., very old houses might have just 60 amp service. The U.S. National Electric Code requires at least 100 amp service for new installations, and 150 amp is common. Home panels for 200 and 400 amp service are available.

Electrical meter in Honmura on Naoshima.
Electrical power lines in Honmura on Naoshima.

Honmura Port

Fishing boats use the port in Honmura. There is ferry service to several nearby islands.

Honmura port on Naoshima.

The entire Japanese archipelago is volcanic. During the last ice age, the sea level was significantly lower than it is today, and this area was a low dry basin with smaller peaks than the ranges to its north and south, on the now-separated Honshū and Shikoku islands.

Honmura port on Naoshima.

The sea level rose, and eventually flooded into the low basin.

Honmura port on Naoshima.

The result was almost 3,000 islands in the Seto Inland Sea.

Honmura port on Naoshima.

Even the bicycle shelter is an art installation.

Honmura port on Naoshima.
Honmura port on Naoshima.

More Art

The Go'o Shrine is part of the Art House Project. Its staircase is formed by large glass blocks. Hiroshi Sugimoto designed this installation.

Art house in Honmura on Naoshima.

Below the rock field extending out from the shrine, there's a narrow underground Stone Chamber.

Art installation in Honmura on Naoshima.
Art installation in Honmura on Naoshima.

The ticket-taker will give you a flashlight, and point you past the old stele. Go slightly downhill, then turn back and enter the narrow passage.

Neolithic kofun tombs

Twenty meters or more back that passage, it turns a right angle to the right and you're looking down the Stone Chamber under that rock field in front of the shrine. Very dim light is admitted through the glass block staircase, which continues down through the ground and to the floor of the chamber, which is a shallow pool of water. It isn't a kofun, but it made me think of one.

Art installation in Honmura on Naoshima.

More art.

Art installation in Honmura on Naoshima.
Electrical meter in Honmura on Naoshima.

And more utility service: the above electrical service is unusual, 60 amp service to a significantly larger house, probably operating as a guesthouse.

Many homes use liquified petroleum gas from small canisters. It's a mix of propane and butane.

LP gas tank in Honmura on Naoshima.

Then on through the small lanes of Honmura, between walls of charred cedar.

Small lanes through Honmura on Naoshima.

Then I came to a construction project. Amazing wood. They build homes with cabinet-grade wood.

Wooden frame construction in Honmura on Naoshima.

The vertical studs fit into slots cut into the plates. Many of the pieces are 120×120 mm.

Wooden frame construction in Honmura on Naoshima.

The larger pieces are made from four or five pieces glued together. Everything is so straight and smoothly cut that it's hard to spot the glued layers.

Wooden frame construction in Honmura on Naoshima.

Evening in Miyanoura

I walked back to Miyanoura and got cleaned up. Then I went out for a late light dinner at Bar Saru.

Bar Saru at the Miyanoura port on Naoshima.
Bar Saru at the Miyanoura port on Naoshima.

Curry and rice, with an egg, the evening's special.

Bar Saru at the Miyanoura port on Naoshima.

The above is specific to Takamatsu. Or maybe you want to explore other places in Japan.

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