I am headed back to the Setouchi Triennale 2013 on Thursday for a three day visit. The planned destinations are Shamijima, Teshima, and Ogijima with accommodations at Uno. I plan to check on all three Houses for Light sculptures while I am on Ogijima. I have seen photographs of the Houses for Light during the course of the spring session and they appear to be doing all right. I want to do some basic cleaning, add a couple more coats of varnish and then decide what I need to bring on my next trip to Ogijima in the early summer to prepare them for the hot and muggy summer season.
If you are interested in going to Ogijima, here are a some tips and recommendations based on my own personal experience. You can always find detailed schedules and information about the artworks and artists at the Setouchi Triennale 2013 website.
The Setouchi Triennale is being held over three separate seasons, each about one month long. Weekends can be quite busy during the seasons with lines to see artworks and to catch ferries. If you cannot make it during the week and want to avoid the weekend crowds, I would offer this alternative.
Between the three seasons, some of the artworks in the Setouchi Triennale 2013, especially those inside buildings or requiring supervision, will not be available for viewing. However, almost all the artwork that is installed outdoors can be viewed anytime between now and the close of the festival in early November.
You can check the Setouchi Triennale website for details about each artwork’s availability. If you want to see some of the art (without having a list in mind) and enjoy the atmosphere of Setouchi without the crowds, I would recommend coming in between the official seasons. There may be less in terms of artworks, vendors, and conveniences i.e. the Setouchi Passport is not valid between seasons, but you will get to experience the islands in the way that has made this area mine and others’ favorite region in Japan. Ogijima is especially easy to visit between seasons because the ferry schedule does not change from the spring schedule. There are ferries every two hours to and from Ogijima.
Getting to and from Ogijima
If you plan to visit the Setouchi Triennale 2013 for more than one day or during the weekend, I recommend getting the Setouchi 2 Day Ferry Pass. It saves you the effort of lining up to buy ferry tickets and then lining up to get on the ferry. However, if you only plan to visit Ogijima, you are better off buying your ticket since the round-trip ticket is 1000 yen while the 2 Day Ferry Pass is 4000 yen.
The best way to get to Ogijima is to take the ferry from Takamatsu Port
The ferry runs every 2 hours from Takamatsu starting from 8 am.
The ferry back to Takamatsu runs every two hours from Ogijima starting at 7 am. The last ferry back to Takamatsu is 5 pm during the spring session and in between seasons. If you go during the weekend or holidays, you will want to line up early if you plan on catching the last ferry back to Takamatsu. The ferry typically holds about 250 passengers and during busy times, the last ferry can be very crowded or even filled to capacity.
Places to eat on Ogijima
Takeshi Kawashima and Dream Friends’ Dream Cafe and the Onba Factory Cafe are two of the artworks on Ogijima, you can find more details about both at the Setouchi Triennale website.
When you step off the ferry, you have many different food options right around the port. If the weather is nice (i.e. not raining), there are a number of food stands selling takoyaki, and other goodies near Erika Yano’s The Ordinary. With outdoor seating, this is a great place to mix with Ogijima locals and other festivalgoers. If you walk past Jaume Plensa’s Ogijima’s Soul, you will find Murakami Shoten in a white building with a colorful awning. Murakami-san and her daughter cook up tako (octopus) okonomiyaki, yakisoba, yakiudon. They also prepare small bento lunches that you can take away with you to the Ogijima lighthouse or to eat along the water. Next to Murakami Shoten, you will find a food stand that sells Ogijima curry plates. Vending machines are also located along the port so you can keep yourself hydrated as you wander around Ogijima.
Ogijima Cafe Tachi has opened for the start of the Setouchi Triennale. I have not been there as it was still under construction when I was there in mid-March. It looks like they serve coffee, desserts, and light meals. You can find more information at their Facebook page.
If you are looking for more of a sitdown lunch, I recommend two places. The first place Madoka serves set menus for lunch. Also, if you want fresh udon, you have to get there between 11 am and 11:30 am for a limited number of servings. Their specialty is the octopus tempura lunch set but they have a variety of other Japanese fare. To get to Madoka, just head to the lighthouse from Ogijima port – from Ogijima’s Soul, head left and then you will turn right when the road ends, head up the incline and about a third of the way before you reach the top of the switchback you will see a wheelbarrow standing on end with an octopus painted on it – you have arrived at Madoka.
The other place is the Minshuku Sakura. The Minshuku Sakura is located along the path to the Group 1965 P.S.S.40 building – from Ogijima port, head towards the P.S.S. 40 building, continue straight along the path as you pass the P.S.S. 40 building on your left and about 50 meters before you reach the other port, you will see Minshuku Sakura on your right. There is a catch, you need to make a reservation (you will need to speak Japanese or have a Japanese friend help you out) for lunch as the seafood is caught fresh and served for meals. The specialty of Minshuku Sakura is the takomeishi which is chunks of octopus mixed with rice and herbs. Sashimi and shellfish are likely to be served along with the takomeishi as part of the set menu. You can make reservations by calling 087−873−0515.
Places to stay on Ogijima
If you decide to spend the night on Ogijima, both Madoka and Minshuku Sakura offer traditional Japanese accommodations. After the last ferry arrives from Takamatsu and all the residents have returned to their homes, Ogijima becomes this quiet oasis. You can stay along the port and watch the sunset over the Seto Inland Sea or you can climb up to the Toyotamahime Shrine and watch the sunset from on high. After that, return to your accommodations for a warm delicious meal. If you want to walk off your dinner, head back to Ogijima port to see Jaume Plensa’s Ogijima’s Soul illuminated.
To make reservations for accommodations, you can call either location (again, you will need to speak Japanese or have a friend help you out) Be sure to make reservations for dinner because there are no other places on the island to eat after the last ferry leaves. Accommodations at either place will run you between 4000 to 5000 yen depending on the kind of meal service you request.
For Minshuku Sakura, call 087-873-0515
For Madoka, call 087-873-0703
That covers the basics of visiting Ogijima. For a relaxed visit, you can certainly spend an entire day on Ogijima, but if you don’t have the time, you can see most of the artworks and take in some food in just 3 or 4 hours.
If you have any questions about visiting Ogijima, please do not hesitate to contact me.
I hope you get a chance to experience the wonderful environment and kind people of Ogijima during this year’s Setouchi Triennale