Naoshima, Kagawa

Naoshima (直島, Naoshima) is an island in Japan's Seto Inland Sea, part of Kagawa Prefecture. The island is best known for its many contemporary art installations and museums. The town of Naoshima (直島町, Naoshima-chō) administers Naoshima and 26 smaller islands nearby.[1] As of 2020, the town has an estimated population of 3,026[2] and a density of 210 persons per km². The total area is 14.22 km².[3]

Beachside Torii on the southern part of the island
Beachside Torii on the southern part of the island
Flag of Naoshima
Official seal of Naoshima
Location of Naoshima in Kagawa Prefecture
Location of Naoshima in Kagawa Prefecture
Naoshima is located in Japan
Location in Japan
Coordinates: 34°27′30″N 133°59′00″E / 34.45833°N 133.98333°E / 34.45833; 133.98333
PrefectureKagawa Prefecture
 • MayorShin'ichi Kobayashi
 • Total14.22 km2 (5.49 sq mi)
 • Total3,026
 • Density210/km2 (550/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+09:00 (JST)

Naoshima Island is known for its many contemporary art museums. For example, the Chichu Art Museum (literally, "in the earth") houses a number of site-specific installations by James Turrell, Walter De Maria, and paintings by Claude Monet. Designed by Tadao Ando, it is located on one of the highest points of the island, and various exhibits and facets of the museum's architecture take advantage of its commanding view. Another contemporary museum (and hotel) is Benesse House, also by Ando. Another is the Naoshima Fukutake Art Museum, with an outdoor sculpture garden, and a third is the James Bond museum, inspired by the island's use as one of the settings for the 2002 Bond novel The Man with the Red Tattoo by Raymond Benson.[4] It is also known as the island that the fictional locations of Summer Pockets are based on.

The museums and beauty of the island draw many tourists, whose visits help support the local economy. However, it is Mitsubishi Materials, loosely affiliated with other Japanese companies of the Mitsubishi name, that dominates industry on the island, as Naoshima has been the site of massive refining by Mitsubishi since 1917.

Benesse Art Site Naoshima

Benesse Corporation (one of the largest education companies in Japan and based in Okayama) has directed the creation and operation of the island's museums and other projects since the late 1980s.

Naoshima is the sister town of Timmins, Ontario, Canada.

Town of Naoshima and nearby islandsEdit

Naoshima was made a village in 1890, and upgraded to a town in 1954.[1] The town is part of Kagawa District.[5]

As of 2010, only three of the town's 27 islands are inhabited: Naoshima, Byōbujima, and Mukaejima.[6] Ishima is also inhabited, but only in the northern portion which belongs to Okayama Prefecture.


Second-largest island, northeast of Naoshima. The island is divided between Kagawa Prefecture in the south and Okayama Prefecture in the north. The only inhabitants are in a small settlement on the north coast, belonging to Okayama.

Ishima was divided after fishing-related disputes in the Edo period.[7] In 2011, 87% of the island was burned in a forest fire, though the northern settlement was spared.[8]


Minor island north of Naoshima, close to Okayama Prefecture. Population 19 (as of 2015).[9]


Minor island northwest of Naoshima. Population 15 (as of 2015).[9]


  1. ^ a b "Introduction of Naoshima Town" (in Japanese). Japan: Naoshima Town. March 3, 2016. Retrieved 5 April 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ "Kagawa Prefecture Population Statistics (September 1, 2020)" (in Japanese). Kagawa Prefectural Government. 1 September 2020. Retrieved 5 April 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ "Areas of Prefectures, Towns, etc". Geospatial Information Authority of Japan (in Japanese). Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism. January 1, 2021. p. 64. Retrieved 5 April 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ Clements, Jonathan (15 October 2012). "From Naoshima With Love". The Official Schoolgirl Milky Crisis Blog. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  5. ^ "Postal codes: Kagawa Prefecture" (in Japanese). Japan Post. Retrieved 5 April 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ "香川県離島振興計画 [Island Promotion Plan, Kagawa Prefecture]" (PDF) (in Japanese). Kagawa Prefecture. December 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. ^ "Photo gallery: disputed borders". Mainichi Shimbun (in Japanese). December 2008. p. 5. Retrieved 5 April 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ "瀬戸内海の石島、87%を焼失…ようやく鎮火". YOMIURI ONLINE. 読売新聞社. 2011-08-12. Retrieved 2011-08-12.
  9. ^ a b "Island Population Statistics" (in Japanese). Kagawa Prefecture. Retrieved 5 April 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

External linksEdit