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Japan Regional Information

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Kagawa

The Seto-Naikai ("the Inland Sea of Japan") dotted with more than 110 islands of all sizes Kotohira-gu Shrine, the center of worship for common people
Situated in the northeastern part of Shikoku, Kagawa consists of the Sanuki mountain range with a chain of 3,500 footers topped by Mt. Ryuo of 1,060 meters above sea level, the Sanuki plains stretching out to the north and the Seto-Naikai ("the Island Sea of Japan") dotted with more than 110 islands(Shodo-shima Island etc.) of all sizes.

The prefecture has been known for the production of cotton, sugar and salt called "Sanuki Sanpaku" (three whites) since early times. Takamatsu City, which was a castle town in the feudal age, has prospered as an important center of transportation for these products.

The Bisan-Seto sea area with a 690 kilometers long coastline fronting on the Seto-Naikai and a variety of islands sit in the serene sea boasts the natural views so beautiful that it was designated as Japan's first national park in 1934. The Kotohira-gu Shrine, nicknamed "Konpira-san" by people with a sense of intimacy, drew many visitors to it as a center of worship for common people in the 17th through 19th centuries. Today, it is visited by about 4 million people a year. Shodoshima Island, known as the place where olive raising started in Japan, has beautiful valleys such as Choshikei and Kankakei, the Shodoshima olive park that looks like somewhere along the shore of the Mediterranean and many other places worth visiting.

Getting there
About 1 hour and 20 minutes to Takamatsu Arport from Tokyo Haneda Airport; about 35 minutes from Kansai International airport. About 3 hours and 20 minutes to Okayama Station from Tokyo Station and about 40 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station by JR Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen Line. About 1 hour from Okayama Station to Takamatsu Station by JR Seto-Ohashi Line.
 

  • Kotohira-gu Shrine
    Long 1,368 stone steps to the inner shrine - Protector god for sailors familiarly called Konpira-san
    The Kotohira-gu Shrine is located halfway up Mt. Zozu-san with the altitude of 521 meters in the western Kagawa. It is familiarly called Konpira-san. It enshrines the protector deity for sea-fares, at the same time he protects people for health and against evils and has been worshiped since olden times. In the Muromachi Period in the 14th century, pilgrimage to Konpira became a fad. The flow of worshipers from all over Japan never ceases even today.

    The approach way has 785 stone steps to the Main Sanctuary halfway up Mt. Zozu-san, and 1,368 stone steps to the Inner Shrine. When you stand in front of the Main Sanctuary, you can take a bird's eye view of the Sanuki Plain. You can hire a step climbing palanquin to the Daimon gate, halfway up the approach way.

    There are, in the precincts, Main Sanctuary, Asahi-no-yashiro Shrine, Omote-shoin(formal drawing room), Oku-shoin(inner drawing room) and other historical sites as well as the Treasure house that accommodates an 11-faced Kannon image and other treasures, and an academic reference library that displays numerous donated arts and crafts. At the festival celebrated in autumn, the Shinto rituals such as the Konpira-mai dance that has been handed down to the Kotohira-gu Shrine and Kemari, an old football game enjoyed at the imperial court are performed for the public.

    In the areas surrounding the approach way, there remain many historic sites, such as the tall lantern that used to be the landmark of Konpira pilgrimage and the Sayahashi Bridge with rare structure of having no pier.

    Getting there
    1 hour and 20 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport to Takamatsu Airport, and 35 minutes from Osaka Kansai International Airport. Take a bus for 35 minutes from Takamatsu Airport to Takamatsu Station.Take JR Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen for 3 hours and 20 minutes from Tokyo Station or for 40 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station to Okayama Station. Then take JR Seto-ohashi Line for 1 hour from Okayama Station to Takamatsu Station. Then take JR Dosan Line for 35 minutes from Takamatsu Station to Kotohira Station.

     

  • Shodo-shima Island
    Island with mild climate on the Seto Inland Sea - Oddly shaped rocks and monstrous rocks formed by erosion by rain and wind
    The Shodo-shima Island is situated to the eastern tip of the Bisan Islands and to the northeastern Takamatsu. It is the second largest island in the Seto Inland Sea, just after the Awaji-shima Island. This island, with its circumference of 126 kilometers, is mild in climate suggestive of the Mediterranean climate. Cultivation of citrus fruits is very popular, and furthermore known as the land of the first culture of olives in Japan.

    The highest peak is Mt. Hoshigajo with the altitude of 817 meters. On the west side of this mountain, a flat plateau called Utsukushi-no-hara expands. The edges of the plateau are sheer cliffs, forming scenic views such as the Choshi-kei Valley. There are rows of oddly shaped rocks and monstrous rocks formed due to erosion by the wind and rain, and also the Kankakei Valley, one of the three most beautiful valleys in Japan. You can walk on the promenade, or enjoy the sight from the ropeway that runs between the steep cliffs.

    There are the Shodo-shima Folk Material Museum that displays the history of the Island and many folk materials, in addition, the Shodo-shima Olive Park with olive fields, herb garden, Greek style windmill and other scenery that would be similar to the Mediterranean coast. In the park, the Olive Memorial Hall gives the explication related to the culture of olives, and you can enjoy herb crafts there.

    Getting there
    Take JR Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen Line for about 3 hours and 20 minutes from Tokyo Station, or for about 40 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station to Okayama Station. Take a bus for about 30 minutes from Okayama Station to Shin-Okayama Harbor. Take a ferry for about 1 hour and 10 minutes from Shin-Okayama arbor to Tonosho Harbor.

     

  • Takamatsu
    Castle town flourishing as the main gateway to Shikoku - Yashima and Kokubundai that overlook the islands in the Seto Inland Sea
    Takamatsu, facing the Seto Inland Sea, is situated at the north of Kagawa at the northern Kagawa. It is the main gateway to the Shikoku Island and a pivot of traffic with railways stretching all over Shikoku from Takamatsu Station, and also has a ferry port to the islands in the Seto Inland Sea. It is also the center of the administration, economy and culture of Kagawa.

    Local government and public agencies and shops line the Chuo-dori, central and modern street that stretches to the south from the Takamatsu Harbor. It is a modern city. It thrived as a castle town of the Matsudaira Family in the Edo Period in the 17th century. There still remain historic sites, such as the Tamamo Park built at the site where the Takamatsu-jo Castle once stood, the Ritsurin Park where 6 ponds and 13 artificial hills take you into the world of the Japanese paintings, and the Honen-ji Temple that once was the family temple of the lord of Takamatsu.

    There is Yashima, a 293-meter high lava plateau that juts out to the Seto Inland Sea. It is situated at Bisan-Seto famous for the beautiful scenery of the islands and commands the best view in the Seto Inland Sea. There is a go-round style promenade of 3 kilometers. The view from the top is magnificent, and attracts many visitors to enjoy the sunset or the night view of Takamatsu. There is the Yashima-ji Temple at the top, which is said to have been built by a great Chinese priest Ganjin in 754, where display of the pictures from the 12th century are open to public.

    Getting there
    About 1 hour and 10 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport, or about 35 minutes from Osaka Kansai International Airport to Takamatsu. Take a bus for about 35 minutes from akamatsu Airport to Takamatsu Station. Take JR Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen for about 3 hours and 20 minutes from Tokyo Station, or for about 40 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station to Okayama Station. Then take JR Seto-ohashi Line for about 1 hour from Okayama Station to Takamatsu Station.

     

  • Yashima
    Lava plateau that juts out to the Seto Inland Sea - The best viewing spot for islands in the Seto Inland Sea
    Yashima is a peninsula of lava situated situated at the east to Takamatsu in the northern part of Kagawa, that protrudes into the Seto Inland Sea. It is a lava plateau with the altitude of 293 meters within the Setonaikai National Park. The name Yashima, or the roof island, derives from its flat top part that looks like a roof.

    Yashima is a famous battleground where a samurai general Minamoto-no-Yoshitsune of the Genji clan defeated the enemy clan, the Heike in the 12th century. You can see the old battleground from the observation deck Dankorei at the mountaintop. From another observation deck in Shishi-no-reigan, you can take the bird's eye view of the islands in the Seto Inland Sea. Yashima is accordingly called the best scenic spot for viewing the Seto Inland Sea.

    You can challenge the famous clay throwing event. This event was started after the episode that officers and soldiers of the Genji clan who won the battle of Yashima threw their wooden headpieces from the mountaintop and shouted in triumph. You throw a small, unglazed clay plate to shake off the evil as far as you can. There is also the Yashima-ji Temple with the main Buddhist image of seated Senju Kannon in the principal temple painted in red, which is said to have been built by a great Chinese priest Ganjin in the 8th century.

    Getting there
    About 1 hour and 10 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport to Takamatsu Airport. About 35 minutes from Osaka Kansai International Airport. Take a bus for about 35 minutes from Takamatsu Airport to Takamatsu Station. Take JR Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen Line for about 3 hours and 20 minutes from Tokyo Station, or for about 40 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station to Okayama Station. Then, take JR Seto-ohashi Line for about 1 hour from Okayama Station to Takamatsu Station. Take JR Kotoku Line for about 17 minutes from Takamatsu Station to Yashima Station.


     

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  Information provided by Japan National Tourist Organization.

 

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