Travel: Benesse House, Naoshima, Japan

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(Photo from Benesse House website)

Planning a romantic getaway to Japan with your beau soon? If you are looking for something new apart from the usual itinerary of Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto, why not check out the breathtaking island of Naoshima? Located in the Shikoku region of Japan, travelling to Naoshima is a breeze from Tokyo — simply take a 3.5-hour shinkansen ride to Okayama, and switch to the local ferry.

Long known for its reputation as an island of art, Naoshima is where you can take things slow, and enjoy the beautiful art and architecture that is littered all around the island. Our top pick of accommodation? The famed Benesse House.

Benesse House is one of Naoshima’s premium modern art institutions, and is designed by none other than Japan’s star architect, Ando Tadao. The building, conceived in Ando’s signature reinforced concrete and glass and designed to integrate with the natural landscape around it, is an imposing sight perched on a hilltop.

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(Photo from Benesse House website; Museum suites)

For art fanatics, staying at the Benesse House will be a dream come true — after all, it is not every day that you get to stay on the grounds of a museum! Guests staying in the adjoining accommodation blocks with the museum can enjoy 24-hour access to the museum, which means, you get the luxury of browsing through the exhibitions at your leisure after closing hours. How extravagant is that!

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(Photo from Benesse House website; Beach suites)

For couples who prefer to be close to the sea, you can also choose to stay at one of Benesse House’s eight exquisite beach suites, which are sited right next to the water. (Note: All rooms at Benesse House boast magnificent views of the Seto Inland Sea, though.) Apart from unparalleled sea views, the beach suites are also just a stone’s throw away from Benesse House’s numerous outdoor art installations, including the famous Yayoi Kusama pumpkin.

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(Photo by Wedding & Travel; Yayoi Kusama’s Pumpkin set against the backdrop of the Seto Inland Sea — one of Naoshima’s most iconic sights.)

While a night’s stay at the Benesse House will set you back by more than S$300, the experience of being close to art and nature is one that is hard to come by elsewhere. For more information, visit the Benesse House’s website (http://www.benesse-artsite.jp/en).