On our second day in the Seto Inland Sea, eyes half open, we caught the first and earliest ferry to Teshima. Teshima, like neighboring Naoshima, is host to a marvelous exhibition of art, sculpture, and installations all scattered around the island and in its towns. Similarly, it has also undergone an economic resurgence as the local population embraces tourists visiting not only for the art, but it's breathtaking nature.
Teshima is the largest of the nearby islands, as well as one of the most hilly. This meant upon docking, there was a literal sprint to the bike shop—all the passengers eager to grab one of the few electric bikes available on the island. An electric bike was essential for us to explore the island at our own pace, as well as letting our legs survive the steep climbs.
Heading in the opposite direction from most visitors we took advantage of the morning light riding along the roads winding through the steep mountain side. Unlike many of the nearby fishing islands, Teshima is known for its rural history of lemon, tangerine, and persimmon farms. There was less artwork along this path, but it was a wonderfully scenic way to see the island’s population waking up for the day.
By the early afternoon we made our way to the other side of the island, going back and forth between seaside and mountain villages to view many of installations and art works. The day culminated when we reached the Teshima Art Museum at the top of a hill flanked by rice paddies, fields of wildflowers and opening to an expansive view of the sea.
The Teshima Art Museum was undoubtedly the highlight of the island. It’s an experience best left undescribed, but the harmony between the futuristic domed structure made of cement and the stunning scenery that surrounds it left us mesmerized. "Museum" in this case is certainly a misnomer, but it may be a clever decoy to throw off visitors with what magical experience lies within. If you ever have the chance to visit, GO! And we'll just leave it at that.