The Benesse House Museum gave me mixed feelings when I visited. The first time I visited was in 2009 during my first trip to Shikoku and I was still pretty young and not very knowledgeable about Japan at the time, especially since I had almost 10 years of experience since then. I had no prior research on the place before I went and just wandered until I learned more and more about it. The museum can be split into three sections and I’ll cover the two paid sections here. I believe all of the outdoor artwork is free to view and will be covered in a different post.
The Benesse House Museum’s indoor areas can be split into two sections, the public area and the private area. The private area is part of the Benesse House Park and is only available to people who are staying at the Benesse House complex. There is one artwork that is outside of one of the houses that is free to view from the parking lot, but not really worth it if you ask me.
The main reason you are here is to learn about the museum itself. I usually take the shuttle bus that runs from the entrance of the Benesse grounds, where the public bus stops, all the way to the museum. It saves the walk as the museum is located near the top of a hill. The views alone are worth the trip to this part of the island and I would gladly visit the area again.
The museum itself is nothing more than a modern art museum. Based on the Benesse House Museum’s website, there are only 6 artworks that are unique to the Benesse House Museum, and this is actually not a lot. A lot of the artwork is part of a series from what I can tell and to be very frank and honest, I wasn’t impressed by what I saw. I felt that I could easily see this type of artwork anywhere in the world and going to Naoshima just to see a modern art museum isn’t really my thing. I do feel that if you are a modern art lover you shouldn’t miss this museum as the works were lovely, and the price is reasonable compared to other museums in Japan. My only gripe is that I don’t know if I would travel all the way just to see this museum.
While there is a lot that I say that is not really good about the Benesse House Museum, I still like the museum. I was younger when I visited and didn’t appreciate art as much as I do now, as I am writing this. I probably won’t be visiting the museum again as I really don’t think a second viewing is worthwhile for me and I can still vividly remember the artworks. That being said, the artwork did leave a big impression on me.