Population: 985 Thousand
photo by Kentaro Ohno
Kagawa is currently the smallest prefecture, by area, in Japan. It is located in the Shikoku area and its capital is the city of Takamtsu.
Kagawa is located between the mountains of Shikoku and the sea.
Based on its ancient name, Sanuki, Kagawa is famous for its Sanuki udon (wheat noodles). Recent years have seen an interest in Sanuki udon across Japan and many Japanese now take day-trips to taste the many Sanuki udon restaurants in Kagawa.
- TAKAMATSU CITY
- Takamatsu is the largest city in Kagawa Prefecture.
The city developed over many years as a port town and is located at one of the primary entry points into Shikoku, and is therefore known as the "Gateway to Shikoku". In recent years, it has also come to be known as the "Udon Kingdom".
The city's major tourist attraction is Ritsurin Garden, a garden created in the Edo period. Ritsurin Garden is one of the most famous historical gardens in Japan. It contains a tea house, various folk art and craft exhibits (including the Sanuki Folk Craft Museum), as well as various folk art and craft items for sale.
A tour through the garden generally takes one to two hours. There are various bridges, footpaths and small hills which offer a beautiful view of the garden and the surrounding scenery, most notably Mt. Shiun at the western border of the garden.
Takamatsu Castle, well known as one of the three Mizujiro, or "Water Castles" in Japan, is currently being reconstructed.
Other sites include Yashima-ji, the eighty-fourth temple on the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage, and Shikoku Mura, an open-air architectural park. The park houses over twenty buildings from around Shikoku dating from the Edo period through to the Taishō period, four of which have been designated Important Cultural Properties. It opened in 1976 and covers an area of approximately fifty thousand square metres.
- WHAT TO DO AND WHAT TO SEE
- Marugame Castle is one of the only 12 remaining original castles in Japan.
Shōdo-shima is a popular destination for domestic tourism with natural features such as the Dobuchi Strait, the Angel Road, Shōdoshima Olive Park and the Kankakei Gorge.
The island is also known for its olives, soy sauce, over 500 wild monkeys, and beaches. In addition, tourists are attracted to a miniature version of the 88-temple Shikoku Pilgrimage.
The island is the first in Japan to successfully cultivate olives. Olive trees proliferate on the island and olive-related merchandise is quite popular with tourists.
Flower Park Urashima, is a park where thousands of white Margaret bloomm in May.
National Sanuki Manno Park. 20 thousands hydrangea of 40 species decorate the park from June 14th to July 6th.
The Chichu Art Museum (literally "art museum in the earth") is a museum built directly into a southern portion of the island of Naoshima in Kagawa Prefecture. Despite being buried underground, the design of the building is such that it facilitates the exclusive use of natural light to illuminate a number of the exhibits, changing their appearance at different viewing times throughout the day.
- GETTING THERE
- By plane
Takamatsu Airport has flights to Tokyo, Kagoshima, and Naha (Okinawa) on the domestic side, and Seoul and Shanghai on the international side.
Takamatsu is the main train gateway to Shikoku. There are frequent services in all directions: north to Okayama on the Honshu mainland, west to Matsuyama, south to Kochi and east to Tokushima.
Since the opening of the Great Seto Bridge, train service carries passengers between Takamatsu and Okayama City (Okayama, Okayama).
A number of bus companies, including JR Bus and Takamatsu Express, operate buses to and from major cities in the Kansai area. Prices may very slightly from company to company but in general the prices and trip times are nearly identical. Buses can be booked online.
- CLIMATE/ TEMPERATURE
- April and May in Japan are usually relatively warm with pleasant weather. June and July are the rainy season. August can get quite warm. The temperature gradually drops in the autumn, and the leaves of many trees turn colours and fall. During the winter, in some regions of Japan, a considerable amount of snow falls and it stays on the ground for months. However, in Kagawa Prefecture snow usually falls about two or three times per winter and does not remain on the ground for long. The winter months of January and February are the coldest, with occasional night time freezing temperatures.
- WHAT TO WEAR
- During summer, you should be fine if you wear a short-sleeved shirt, t-shirt or a dress, however a long sleeved shirt is highly recommended if you choose to go near water or to the mountains.
In the winter, be sure to bring warm clothes such as winter coat or jacket, hat, scarf and gloves.
For the spring and autumn a light jacket or a sweater should keep you warm.
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