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Inujima Island

An underground art complex housed inside a former refinery is the main attraction on this avant garde isle.

The name of this place translates to “Dog Island,” but don’t get too excited — it’s not an island filled with thousands of friendly puppies (though we can still dream). It actually got its name from a peculiar rock on its shores which is said to resemble a pooch.

Inujima Island’s second and biggest claim to fame is its excellent modern art credentials. Yes, this is one of Japan’s famous art islands, converted by private collectors to house their impressive stockpiles of genius. The island was once a hub of industry, but its towering refinery has since been transformed into a gallery.

The grungy industrial aesthetics just add to the charm of the site, and fit its avant garde aspirations perfectly. Highlights include a mesmerizing tunnel of mirrors, and a piece made from deconstructed parts of the residence of the novelist Mishima Yukio. Even the facility itself was built to make a statement, with locally-sourced materials and water recycling systems reducing its environmental impact.Ferries leave from the terminal near Nishi Hoden bus stop every 1 or 2 hours, and tickets for the museum itself can be secured on the island.

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