Before heading out to the Setouchi Triennale, there is one essential place where you can get everything you need and learn everything you need about the Triennale. The main information centre is located in the Takamatsu Port Passenger Terminal Building. It is across the street from the JR Hotel Clement Takamatsu and next to the Maritime Plaza Takamatsu. It is pretty easy to get there as it is on the way to the main port in Takamatsu. The building is the last one you will pass before you get to the wharf.
The Setouchi Triennale Information Centre has always been on the first floor of the Takamatsu Port Passenger Terminal Building. The second floor is usually used as a place to rest before heading out to the port to catch the various ferries. If you have a lot of time before a ferry and you pre-purchased tickets, it is one of the places where you can relax in peace and quiet. I am not sure what the building is like outside of the Triennale but during Triennale years the first floor is a hub of activity at times.
When you enter from the JR Takamatsu side, the first thing you will see is the somewhat large gift shop. There are a lot of official goods for the Triennale and the information centre is the best place to get everything. They have all of the official goods that are listed on the website as well as the guidebook but they don’t carry all of the local items. Along the wall they also have the information centre as well as volunteers to help you with whatever information you need.
If you are looking to buy the various passes, from the Setouchi Triennale Passport to the 3 day ferry pass, you must go to the information centre. You can purchase passes in other areas, but generally the main information centre is where you can get everything in one place. You can also ask them for help on how to get around and what to do. They are really friendly and while their English is not perfect, they are very approachable and they often approach you to see if you need help.
On the first day I was at the Triennale I picked up the Setouchi Trienalle Passport as well as inquired about the 3 day ferry pass. I arrived in Takamatsu on August 3rd and wanted the 3 day ferry pass for the 5th. Unfortunately I couldn’t get the pass until the day I wanted to activate it, and I was going to be on Ogijima at that time. They were worried I wouldn’t be able to get it on Ogijima so they were really kind and called Ogijima for me and found out that I was able to get it. I was really happy that they could help.
While I was waiting for the information on the ferry pass, I asked about Oshima because it was a little difficult to access. They were really happy to give me information about when to arrive to get tickets to go to Oshima as well as a few other tips. If you want to visit Oshima, you need to get a ticket from the information centre and they will tell you about it there. They were really nice to write everything down for me as well as giving me whatever information was necessary. They have a lot of information and they are more than happy to give you that information for free. They even had a ferry schedule on a small piece of paper for Teshima which was a great help.
On the day I went to Oshima, I was waiting around in the information centre and a kind old lady came up to me. I love talking to these old ladies, especially when I had time on my hands. She was really sweet and soft and started talking to me in English. I responded to her in Japanese and this went on for a few sentences before I asked her if she would prefer to speak in English or Japanese. She kindly asked if we could speak in English so she could practice. I humoured her, but I was also happy to help. It was fun to talk to her a little about my past as well as hear her tips about Oshima. It was a great experience that I won’t forget.
The information centre is not always busy and the people there are always very helpful. They do approach most people and the gift shop area is one of the best places to get something to remember the Triennale. They even have guidebooks for sale which I think are essential to getting around to the different islands. If you are going to the Triennale, do add a little time to visit the information centre before you really start going to the islands as you can confirm whatever information you need to confirm as well as get other information that you may not have considered.