The event launching the latest creation by art collective teamLab isn't your garden-variety presser. The assembled media sit on tatami mats in a stately room in Onyado Chikurintei, a quietly posh ryokan spa where members of the Imperial family have stayed. Local officials from Saga Prefecture are on hand to welcome the media to the city of Takeo, but a better reminder of the fact we are deep in the woods is the summer orchestra of insects tuning up outside.

Just beyond this outpost of luxury lies the reason we are assembled in rural Kyushu: a large outdoor collection of art installations titled "A Forest Where Gods Live," scattered through Mifuneyama Rakuen, a 500,000-square-meter garden in Takeo.

At the front of the room is teamLab's 40-year-old founder and CEO, Toshiyuki Inoko, who is dressed in a suit and a white T-shirt. He seems uncomfortable reading a speech about the show but relaxes after sitting down to chat with Masahiko Uotani, CEO of Shiseido, the show's main sponsor. While the polished Uotani weaves in plugs for Waso, Shiseido's latest skin care line, Inoko does his best, although his excitement sometimes causes his words to accelerate past his thoughts. "Where was I? What was I trying to say?" he asks at one point.