Takamatsu is the main base for the Setouchi Triennale. Uno is more convenient for people living on Honshu to visit the festival but Takamatsu is much larger compared to Uno with better infrastructure for visiting the various islands in the festival. Okayama is a bit far from Uno and is better suited for people living in Okayama or other areas close to Okayama. Both Takamatsu and Uno have art to enjoy, but it felt as if Takamatsu contributes a lot more to the festival itself. It doesn’t hurt that most of the islands are located within Kagawa Prefecture, so they share the same state level administration. Takamatsu also has more in the way of information to help you understand what is going on for the festival and most of the volunteers working for the festival live in Takamatsu. It may be difficult to get around the Setouchi Triennale at first, but with the help of the friendly volunteers in Takamatsu, you can trust that you will be able to get all the information and help you need to adjust any plans you have to avoid wasting time and money on an island that may be predominantly closed.
There wasn’t a lot of art for me to see when I went to Takamatsu for the spring edition of the Setouchi Triennale. I think the summer edition will be the best but there were still a few interesting pieces to see during the spring and they will be available for the entire year. The most popular piece to see was “Liminal Air -core-” by Shinji Ohmaki. It is two pillars that stand like a gate at the port. They are very interesting with various colours with red and chrome being the most dominant “colours” you see. Almost all of my photos were of it at night as I had the most time to enjoy it at night. In the Takamatsu Port Terminal Building, there is a hidden artwork on the top floor. I say it is hidden because the arrows on the signs are very confusing the first time you visit and it is not easy to access the top floor if you don’t know where to go. I stumbled upon it because the guidebook said it was there. The installation is “Islands in the Tidal Current” by Yukihisa Isobe. It was a nice piece that was essentially a large map of the Seto Inland Sea, specifically the area around Kagawa, with lots of tubing and air bubbles running through the tubing. It signified the vast currents that flow within the Seto Inland Sea. “Happy Snake” by Jose de Guimaraes was an installation that you can see at various places around Takamatsu Port. The Setouchi website says it is placed at all ports in the festival but I only saw it in Takamatsu. It is essentially a white snack gobbling up a flower, and the flower’s colour depends on which board you saw. I know of 3 boards in Takamatsu itself but I’m unsure if there are others. Finally there is “Flower” by Jose de Guimaraes. He did all of the welcome boards and you can see Flower at all of the ports in the festival. They are all nice and I would imagine that you can see these in the future as it would be a shame to throw these nice boards away at the end of the festival.
At the airport, there are a couple of artworks that are available to the public. I was only able to see “Welcome” by Veronique Joumard. It was a tall column of gold fabric that occupied a lonely corner of the arrivals hall. It was located away from the exit of the baggage claim area and meant the artwork was skipped by most visitors to Takamatsu. It is close to the international check-in area and probably easier to see if you are departing Takamatsu via the airport. Unfortunately due to my time constraint, trying to catch the bus, I only had a minute to see it and take photos. I learned that there was also a second artwork called “Funny Blue” by Veronique Joumard as well but I didn’t get a chance to look for it. There were only two other pieces of art that I didn’t get a chance to see while I was in Takamatsu. One was a functioning train. “Araki Train” by Nobuyoshi Araki was the same artwork that you can see in Uno, except it was covering an entire train. It requires good timing to see the train and since I didn’t have good timing, I couldn’t see it at all. There is also “Beautifully Abandoned” by Leandro Erlich which was located a little outside the city centre with an expensive bus and short hike to see it. I would have liked to see that artwork but I couldn’t make the time to see it. I was also pretty exhausted and wanted to return home rather than make the short trek out to see it. I hope it will still be there in 3 years so that I can go and visit it, but I’m not holding my breath.
In terms of the festival information and tickets themselves, it was a real confusing mess at first to find the information centre. I will write about the different ways to get to the islands in the future, but for now I will concentrate on the Takamatsu Port Terminal Building and the information centre there. In Takamatsu, there is one major information centre to visit and it is located at the Port Terminal Building. Most of the signs will direct you to head into a shopping mall located closer to the station, but the information centre is actually located across the street from the port, between the port and the shopping centre. It was a large area with a lot of people helping you get information and to buy various passes. There was a small table set up at Takamatsu Station itself and the people there, specifically one man, is there to help you get basic information. The man was pretty friendly, almost to a negative point. I wanted just a quick piece of information but he rambled on for about 10 minutes. He was really nice and open about talking and using his English but at the same time I wanted to get going as he didn’t have any information that I wanted or needed. The main information centre has a lot of people there and with the large numbers it is easier to get the information you need. You can purchase the Setouchi Triennale Passport and the 2 day ferry pass there. Do note that you can only purchase the ferry pass on the day you start to use the pass. You cannot purchase it earlier. Thankfully they open pretty early, before the first ferry, so you can get all of your passes on the day you decide to head around the festival. There are large maps inside as well as a lot of information about the ferries and transportation around the islands. Thankfully I went there on my first day as they gave some tips that were invaluable. They told me that Inujima and Teshima were partially closed on Tuesdays and Naoshima was partially closed on Mondays. It allowed me to adjust my schedule accordingly and not be surprised. I highly recommend visiting the information centre, if anything to look at some of the souvenirs that they have. You can see all of the official souvenirs and even get a little treat from the festival in the way of snacks.
Takamatsu is an integral part of the Setouchi Triennale. For many people, it will be a place to get information and then make their way to the various islands. I think the festival organizers did a good job to balance things out. While I wish they had more to see and do during the spring edition, I am also happy that they didn’t. It really gives me a greater reason to actually go to the summer edition as there will be a lot more art see. I really think it is a great idea for them to split the festival into 3 seasons in order to spread out the number of people visiting the islands as well as to encourage people to come back again. It can be difficult to find time and money to visit for each of the 3 seasons but for those living in the area, it couldn’t be that difficult. They have also done a great job with the various volunteers going to and from the islands and helping people understand what to see and do in the area. My hat goes off to them for a great festival and I can only hope they continue to succeed. My only selfish thought is that they don’t succeed too much so that I can still enjoy the islands next time without them being too busy.
Takamatsu (Setouchi Triennale Edition) is part of a series of posts on the Setouchi Triennale. Follow the links below to read more about the different aspects of the Setouchi Triennale.
- Dru’s Great Setouchi Triennale 2013 Misadventure
- EAT&ART TARO on Shamijima
- Food of Inujima
- Teshima – Kou and Ieura
- Teshima – Karato
- Eating on Teshima
- Ogijima (Part I)
- Ogijima (Part II)
- ONBA CAFE
- Naoshima (Benesse Art Site)
- Naoshima (Honmura & Miyanoura)
- Naoshima (Transportation)
- Takamatsu Revisited
- Ferries in the Setouchi Triennale
Takamatsu (Setouchi Triennale Edition) is part of a series of posts on Takamatsu. To read more, follow the links below:
- Setouchi Triennale (Takamatsu Page)