Honmura is a sleepy but picturesque village on art island Naoshima. Its current claim to fame is its location for the very interesting Art House Project, an immersive art project that takes visitors on a bit of hunt looking for art in converted homes and spaces. But beyond the museums and galleries, there is much to discover in Honmura and the rest of the island.
Honmura has its humble beginnings as a fishing village, but has its origins dating back to the Edo-period. The traditional architecture here is characterised by the smoked cedar board walls and traditional roof tiles. Today Honmura is a beguiling mix of old and new, with hidden treasures at every corner.
The Art House Project is the main draw to this part of the island, an integration of art with its space and environment, which in this case are often unoccupied houses dotting Honmura. There are currently seven locations, each unique in its project and space. A couple of my favourites are the intriguing Go'o shrine with the glass block steps offering an ethereal experience and James Turrell's Backside of the Moon (the building Minamidera is by Pritzker Prize-winning Tadao Ando). Ando, the primary architect for most of the architectural masterpieces on the island, has his own little museum in these parts. For the Ando Museum, he integrated his signature concrete into a century-old house. For information on the area and to buy tickets for the Art House Project, head to the Honmura Lounge & Archive, which occupies a former agricultural cooperative supermarket.
The village is also home to a host of small, independent guest houses, cafes and restaurants. Among the cafes are Cafe Konichiwa, which occupies a lovely little spot overlooking the port (you can't miss the bright yellow van parked out in front) and Mai Mai Cafe, popular for its burgers. Guesthouses are tucked into traditional buildings, giving an authentic stay in a laidback village. There are a few budget guesthouses available too, so a stay in Honmura can be affordable.
Most visitors to Naoshima come as day-trippers, but the island is definitely worthy of a longer stay.