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Since 2000, 300 square miles around Niigata, Japan is transformed every three years to host The Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale, the world’s largest art festival, and the results are nothing short of magical. The sheer size and ambition of such a feat attracts artists and art lovers from all over the world to bask in a giant, outdoor art gallery full of wonder. For 50 days, attendees travel this landscape, visiting 200 villages across nearly 200,000 acres of mountainous terrain all in the love of art.

The festival originated from Tokyo-based art gallery Art Front Gallery and beckons the talent of some of the world’s most renowned architects, landscape artists and sculptors to display their works on what is arguably the widest canvass of their artistic careers. Different exhibitions are scattered throughout these 200 villages, turning each into a destination for a new and fascinating art installation or attraction.

Nearing completion on the 6th edition of the festival, foot traffic this year has been estimated to be more than half a million. That’s a hefty number, though not at all surprising considering just how unique and alluring this festival is. The Triennale offers artists the opportunity to present and display their projects developed in the Echigo-Tsumari Art Field to reveal the assets and natural wonders of the region. With art serving as the catalyst, the festival hopes to imbue the artists who attend with a new love and reawakening of their artistic passions and values while providing them with an unmatchable audience to showcase their work while revitalizing this region.

Showing can be better than telling in most cases, and this fascinating festival is no exception. For the first time ever, the Triennale’s Director and Curator, Fram Kitagawa, has published a must-see collection compiling all 800 notable and gorgeous artworks, projects and installations that have littered the Echigo-Tsumari Art Field since 2000. This comprehensive catalogue, titled “Art Japan Place,” also includes essays, maps of the gargantuan festival and doubles as a travel guide for interested future attendees. Now available for purchase, this book is a must-have as a coffee table staple for any art lover. Check out more glorious shots of the art that has graced this festival below.

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