The Setouchi Triennale 2016 started on March 20. With fair weather, the first day saw a lot of tourists, with long lines for the ferries bound for the small islands. The venue for the spring season includes the eight islands (Naoshima, Toshima, Shodoshima, Ogijima, Megijima, Ohshima, Inujima and Shamijima), Takamatsu port area and Uno port area. In each venue new works produced for this year as well as the works from the last two occasions of Triennale are exhibited. Don’t forget to enjoy “food”, which is another theme for this year.
1. BE AT THE PORT AT LEAST ONE HOUR BEFORE THE FERRY DEPARTURE
Expect a big crowd during weekends and holidays. Ticketing counters and boarding points for the ferries are different for each destination and may be confusing if you are first-time visitors, so it is highly recommended to get there early and buy your ferry ticket. When you have the ticket, line up and wait for boarding and you won’t miss the ferry. It is often the case that you won’t be able to get a seat on the ferry during weekends.
2. THE LAST FERRY OF THE DAY CAN BE TOO FULL DURING WEEKENDS AND CONSECUTIVE VACATION
When it is too crowded, the last flights to Uno and Takamatsu can be full: it is sometimes the case that people can’t get a ticket, so if you cannot afford to miss it, be there at least 30 minutes before departure time to line up. Take note that regular ferries dispatch extra services when the last boat is full to assist passengers left at the port, but not the high-speed boats.
3. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE PROTECTION AGAINST COLD WEATHER
The temperature may get high when the weather is good, but it can be cold at the beaches or on windy days. So don’t forget to take outfits for colder weather. On the ferry, the outside seat can be freezing except for daytime on very sunny days. If you plan to ride a bicycle on the islands, gloves and a hat will also be handy.
4. BOOK AHEAD, ESPECIALLY WHEN VISITING CHICHU ART MUSEUM ON NAOSHIMA AND TESHIMA MUSEUM ON TESHIMA
The Chichu Museum and Toshima museum are extremely popular and are often subject to restricted admission. If you plan to visit them, book ahead via the website. You won’t need to wait for admission and will be able to use your time more effectively.
Online Booking: http://ticket-basn.pia.jp/en/
5. ENGLISH (AND FOREIGN LANGUAGE) SIGNS AND GUIDES ARE VERY LIMITED
Even the English version of the official guide book contains only limited contents including maps and basic guides that are available from the official website. There are several English-speaking staff at the tourist information office, but once you are on the small islands, you will find few English speakers except for the hotel and museum staff operated by Benesse. English dishes may not be available at restaurants and cafés. Be prepared and enjoy adventure.
Finally, there are no trash cans for visitors on the islands, so make sure you bring all trash with you when you come back to the town. Please do say hello to the residents there. Observe etiquettes and enjoy your Triennale experience even more!