Artistic Wonders of Shodoshima, an Island in the Seto Inland Sea

Artistic Wonders of Shodoshima, an Island in the Seto Inland Sea


Shodoshima (小豆島), an island in Kagawa Prefecture, stands as a beacon for art enthusiasts exploring the Setouchi Inland Sea. Ranking as Japan's 19th largest island, it has a modest population of 28,000. Shodoshima captivates visitors with its harmonious blend of natural beauty, rich history, and art installations.

In this feature, we delve into the art treasures ingeniously integrated within Shodoshima's landscapes. The island's art scene is vast and varied, promising an enriching journey across its terrain. While we can't cover every artistic gem, we'll highlight key works that showcase the island's unique fusion of art and nature. For a comprehensive exploration of Shodoshima's art, refer to the details on the pieces not mentioned here.

Getting There


Reaching Shodoshima is an adventure in itself, offering two primary gateways: from Okayama Prefecture or Kagawa Prefecture. For air travelers, we suggest landing at Takamatsu Airport in Kagawa. Upon arrival, a limousine bus journey to Takamatsu Port connects you to the ferry bound for Shodoshima.


This ferry voyage across the Setouchi Sea is not just a means of travel but an experience, showcasing the region's art-dotted islands like Naoshima, Teshima, and Shodoshima itself.

When setting sail for Shodoshima, simply inform the ticket staff if you're heading to Tonosho (土庄) or Ikeda (池田) port. Your choice of port should align with your island itinerary, so a bit of prior research can help streamline your arrival.


The journey offers a breathtaking panorama of the azure sea and sky, a view cherished by photographers and travelers alike. With over 300 days of clear skies annually, the Setouchi region guarantees spectacular seascape photography opportunities, capturing the vibrant blues of nature's palette.

An Island Full of Art


Shodoshima is a living canvas. Every corner of the island, every step you take, is an encounter with creativity. The island's commitment to integrating art into everyday spaces is exemplified by the pier's bathrooms, adorned with artistic prints that transform mundane into the extraordinary. Within the pier station, the celebration of art continues with an eclectic collection on display. This gallery without walls features creations from artists of all ages and stages, from budding young talents to established names.

Olive Cultivation

shodoshimaart7.jpgShodoshima's allure extends beyond its art and natural landscapes. It holds the distinguished title of being Japan's premier olive cultivation hub. The story of olive cultivation in Japan is quite fascinating, tracing back to a period between 1862 and 1867 when olive trees were first introduced to the country. This introduction was spearheaded by a Japanese doctor who imported the trees from France, with Yokosuka (Kanagawa Prefecture), becoming the pioneering site for olive cultivation in Japan.

Olive trees arrived in Shodoshima in 1908. The island's climate proved ideal for olive growing, leading to the establishment of a test planting farm under the auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture and Trade. The project was a collaborative effort, involving the island's community and receiving support from the Ministry of Tourism.

You can read about the history and tourist attractions associated with olives in this feature.

Artworks Around the island

ART no SHOW TERMINAL (対極の美ー無限に続く円ー)

shodoshimaart9.jpgThe ART no SHOW TERMINAL, cataloged as work No. sd02, resides within the Art no Show Terminal building, a stone's throw from Tonosho Pier (土庄港). This piece is the brainchild of Junko Koshino, unveiled in 2022 to the public. It stands as a profound exploration of the symbiotic relationship between nature and humanity, delving into the "Beauty of things across extremes."

Inspired by the versatile nature of Japanese paper lanterns, Junko Koshino's Art no Show Terminal artwork uses 3D printing to sculpt representations of human rationality and nature's patterns. The designs, featuring layers of circles varying in size, symbolize diversity, life's continuity, and human unity.

Google map: https://maps.app.goo.gl/LnCxGC7LcGhMA4fJ9

Gift of The Sun (太陽の贈り物)

shodoshimaart8.jpgGift of The Sun, Exhibit No. sd01 by Choi Jeong Hwa, is a striking installation from 2013, located at Tonosho Port (土庄港).

This shimmering golden olive leaf crown serves as a radiant welcome to Shodoshima. Symbolizing peace and victory, it beautifully contrasts against the sea and sky at the island's entrance, embodying the island's olive heritage and natural splendor.

Google map: https://maps.app.goo.gl/BJ26WCZs3g9aMFGU7

Bollard of Love (愛のボラード)


Bollard of Love, cataloged as No. sd33, is a thought-provoking piece by Hisakazu Shimizu, unveiled in 2016. This installation features large, abstract shapes that strikingly contrast with the indigo hues of the sea and sky, creating a captivating visual at the island's entrance.

Positioned in the parking area of the Twenty Four Eyes Movie Studio (二十四の瞳映画村), it welcomes visitors with its unique blend of artistry and emotionlessness, ensuring that everyone entering the village is greeted by this intriguing work.

Google map: https://maps.app.goo.gl/8FKgMGeRdTp9F9ZB7

Human Home Hermit Crab (ヒトクサヤドカリ)

shodoshimaart10.jpgHuman Home Hermit Crab, Work No. sd45 by Daisuke Omi, is an imaginative installation from 2022, repurposing an entire old house to craft a statement on cohabitation.

This artwork transforms a large piece of wood into the shape of a hermit crab, symbolizing the intersection of marine life and human dwellings, and highlighting the historic tension between the natural world and human encroachment. Situated near the sea, it invites reflection on our relationship with nature and the creatures we share our environment with.

Google map: https://maps.app.goo.gl/69mYkJ39ou4fjvKF6


shodoshimaart11.JPGDAIDARAURUTORABOU, Work No. sd46 by Toshimitsu Ito, unveiled in 2022, is a monumental sculpture symbolizing the union of extraterrestrial life, nature, and human society.

It creatively incorporates materials like stone from walkways in Kamiura, remnants of ships from Itsukushima Shrine, and roots from the Setouchi Islands, reflecting a thoughtful pause in its narrative journey. This work stands as a powerful meditation on the interconnectedness of all beings and the environment.

Google map: https://maps.app.goo.gl/ohPqqAXiRDMsnBQPA

Regent in Olives (オリーブのリーゼント)

shodoshimaart12.jpgRegent in Olives, cataloged as No. sd25 by Hisakazu Shimizu and introduced in 2013, stands out as a captivating piece nestled within an olive grove.

This sculpture, inspired by an olive seed, is whimsically adorned with a hairstyle, transforming it into an iconic figure. Its unique charm quickly made it a beloved mascot and a symbol of Shodoshima, drawing widespread attention and acclaim.

Google map: https://maps.app.goo.gl/3HiVbHNnYhkVhvf76

History of Regent in Olives


Adjacent to Regent in Olives (オリーブのリーゼント), visitors are greeted by a knowledgeable local who shares the rich history of the island and this enchanting sculpture. The nearby GEORGES Gallery serves as a gateway to understanding the artwork's backstory.


Regent in Olives has been celebrated in various creative forms, including posters and event announcements, showcasing its significant role in the community's cultural fabric.


The gallery invites guests to immerse themselves in the artwork's legacy, offering Regent wigs for a playful photo opportunity with the sculpture.


These cherished moments are documented in local newspapers and magazines, capturing the island's spirit and creating lasting memories that delight viewers far and wide.


Each piece of art on the island stands out for its beauty and unique significance. With the array of artworks dotting Shodoshima, a single day may not suffice to fully experience the breadth of creativity on offer. For those intrigued and looking to embark on a comprehensive artistic journey, following the trail outlined in this link can provide a guided exploration of the island's rich art.

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