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We left Kyoto, took four trains and arrived at Uno Port to take the ferry over to Naoshima Island. We had an hour between modes of transportation, giving us just enough time for a light lunch at the Uno Port Inn. They had free wi-fi, local craft beers, breakfast served all day (I had this yummy egg sandwich) and delicious coffee.

We took a shuttle to our hotel, the Benesse House Museum. This was the view from our room’s balcony.

We checked in and enjoyed a welcome mimosa on the terrace (my kind of place!). Afterwards, we went on a short, guided gallery tour. The docent explained that the architect (Ando) designed the buildings to incorporate nature within and throughout. No photos were allowed of the art inside, but you could take pictures outside. I love this piece, “The Secret of the Sky,” which is made of marble and is modeled from human palms facing upward. You can sit on them and look up to the sky above. Each stone is roughly 10 feet across and smooth to the touch.

The museum has two restaurants – one Japanese and the other French. We tried the Japanese one tonight. The food was as mysterious as our meal in Hakone, but most of it was good. After dinner we took the self-operated monorail/funicular (turquoise box at bottom right) up to another part of the hotel called the Oval for a nightcap.

Rain fell softly into the oval pool from the sky above.

Many of the works of art throughout the museum were made on site by artists that stayed at the hotel when it first opened in 1992. Some were able to pick the location and setting for their installations. This creates a very seamless experience for the visitor, as you feel like things were meant to go where they are found, instead of feeling like you’re visiting specific exhibits.

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