Roots of Japan

Kagawa

Kagawa is one of four prefectures that make up Shikoku island. Named the “Udon Prefecture” of Japan by Kagawa PR, it’s famous for its Sanuki Udon Noodles.The famous Shodoshima olives also come from Kagawa.Kagawa is the perfect place to enjoy island hopping, because there are many remote islands, in addition to Shodoshima.Another point in Kagawa’s favor is its accessibility, as both JR Takamatsu station and Takamatsu airport are located in the prefectural capital, Takamatsu city.Domestic flights from Haneda, Narita and Naha airports fly direct to Takamatsu. People can also take the Sunrise Seto, an overnight sleeper train which travels from Tokyo to Takamatsu.
Let’s discover what attractions can be found in this small but charming prefecture, Kagawa.
With an area of 1,876㎢, it is the smallest prefecture in Japan by area.The estimated population is 960,000, with a population density of 513 people per square kilometer.The Seto Inland Sea climate gives the area plenty of sunny days and little rain.In terms of sightseeing, the area benefits from an abundance of sunny days. However, summer also brings extremely hot days, sweltering nights and the possibility of water shortages.In winter, it might snow enough to settle once or twice a year, but it is rare for the area to experience heavy snowfall.

We mentioned Kagawa’s remote islands, but just what can you find there?Shodoshima is the most famous but there are many others!
Let’s take a look at some of them.
1/ Shodoshima 2/ Naoshima
3/ Mukaishima 4/ Ōshima
5/ Ogijima 6/Megijima
7/ Hitsuishijima 8/ Honjima
9/ Awashima 10/ Ibukijima

All ten of these islands are inhabited.The most populated island is Shodoshima, followed by Naoshima.Hitsuishijima is linked by the Seto Ōhashi Bridge, so it is possible to travel to the island by bus instead of boat. With such easily accessible remote islands, you can see why we recommend Kagawa for an island-hopping adventure!Naoshima, known as “art island”, is very popular with tourists, foreign and Japanese alike.How about taking an art tour around this small island?Later on, we’ll go into more detail about what can be found on Naoshima.
Let’s take a look at what kind of tourist spots can be found on sunny Kagawa.There is so much to see, including the famous Kotohira-gu shrine, which has the nickname, “Konpira-san".

1/ Kotohira-gu Shrine 2/ Ritsurin Garden
3/ Tamamo Park 4/ New Reoma World
5/ Play Park Gold Tower 6/ Flower Park Urashima
7/ Zenigata Sunae 8/ Osaka Pass Observation Deck
9/ Toramaru Puppet Land 10/ Kitahama Alley

From mid-April to the end of May, visitors can enjoy a beautiful view of fields of Marguerite flowers in full bloom at Flower Park Urashima.Mitoyo city in Kagawa is the number one producer of Marguerite flowers.If you visit in spring, this view should definitely be on your bucket list.You will enjoy the beautiful sight of a sea of Marguerites set against the ocean and in the distance, Awashima island.Toramaru Puppet Land is Japan’s only puppet show theme park.If you are traveling with children, this is one spot you will definitely want to visit!

On our list of Kagawa’s 10 best tourist spots we didn’t go into any detail about Shodoshima.
So, let’s take a closer look at what kind of attractions can be found on this island!With so much to see and do, many visitors focus all their time on this island.Here is a list of some of the best spots to check out.
1/ Olive Park 2/ Shodoshima Furusato Mura
3/ Angel Road 4/ Kankakei Gorge
5/ Olive Beach 6/ Nijushi no Hitomi Movie Village
7/ Nishi-no-Taki Ryusuiji Temple 8/ Choshikei Gorge
9/ Remaining Stones of Osaka Castle Memorial Park 10/ Saikoji Temple

All of these places are found on Shodoshima alone!Angel Road is a sandbar that connects Shodoshima with Nakayoshima Island.It’s a famous as a match making spot, making it a romantic destination for those traveling as couples.On a side note, at high tide the sandbar disappears and you will be unable to return on foot, so please keep this in mind during your visit.Shodoshima also has flourishing olive and soy sauce industries.You will find plenty of olive and soy sauce related souvenirs, restaurants and tourist spots that are worth checking out.

Following our look around Shodoshima, let’s now take a look at some of Naoshima’s top tourist spots.This little island has developed a reputation as Japan’s “art island”.Naoshima is packed with truly unique attractions!
1/ Chichu Art Museum
2/ Art House Project
3/ Naoshima's Iconic Pumpkin
4/ I Love Yu (Naoshima bath)
5/ Miyanoura Gallery 6

The Red Pumpkin and Orange Pumpkin sculptures (3) by artist Yayoi Kusama can be found on Naoshima.Come and take some photos at these Instagram-worthy spots!At Chichu Art Museum (1) and Benesse House you will find work by world famous Japanese architect Tadao Ando.Set in a world of art, visitors to Naoshima can stroll leisurely around the island, exploring its many art sites and sculptures while picking out their favorites!Make sure you also stop by the Chichu Cafe in the Chichu Art Museum!There you can enjoy a lively conversation discussing the art you've just seen, while gazing out of the large cafe windows to the beautiful ocean.Next, let’s look at some of the best places to enjoy cherry blossoms and autumn colors.Kagawa is rich in beautiful and majestic nature set against the backdrop of the Seto Inland Sea.First, let's look at the best spots to see cherry blossoms.
1/ Marugame Castle
2/ Asahiyama Shinrin Park
3/ Mt. Shiude
4/ Fudonotaki Falls Country Park
5/ Toryo Park
At 352 meters above sea level, Mt. Shiude offers breathtaking scenery all year round, even when it isn’t cherry blossom season.On a fine day you will enjoy a stunning view that stretches as far as Shodoshima.Add 1,000 cherry blossom trees and that view becomes even more breathtaking!Cherry blossoms set against panoramic views of the Seto Inland Sea and remote islands are truly something special.At Fudonotaki Falls Country Park, colorful carp-shaped streamers flutter in the breeze from around late March when the cherry blossoms are at their best.Come and check out this beautiful combination of blossoms and carp streamers.
Here are the top 5 places to see autumn colors.If you are planning to visit Kagawa in autumn, you won’t want to miss visiting one or more of these beautiful spots!How about adding some of these places to your itinerary?
1/ Okuboji Temple
2/ Kashihara Keikoku
3/ Ritsurin Garden
4/ Kotohira-gu Shrine
5/ Kankakei Gorge

You might remember that Ritsurin Garden (3) was also on our list for the top tourist spots in Kagawa.This historic Japanese garden, which took 100 years to complete, looks absolutely stunning in autumn.Designated as a Special Place of Scenic Beauty, we would really like to see these wonderful views in person!For a limited time from late November, the garden is lit up at night.Come and enjoy the atmospheric night time autumn foliage!Kankakei Gorge (5) is found on Shodoshima.The Kankakei Ropeway is an easy way to enjoy gorgeous views of autumn colors.

While looking around Kagawa you’ll also want to enjoy the local food.
Udon noodles are perhaps the most famous, but you’ll find lots of other unique local cuisine, too.Try these dishes out while you are visiting Kagawa!
1/ Soy Sauce Beans
2/ Shippoku Udon
3/ Handmade Somen of Shodoshima Island
4/ An-mochi Zoni
5/ Honetsuki Tori

At the beginning of autumn through to winter, when the wind turns cold and it starts to get chilly, Shippoku Udon (2) is the perfect dish.Boiled udon noodles are topped with cooked seasonal vegetables.Some families eat this traditional local dish instead of the usual soba noodles eaten on New Year’s Eve.If you visit Kagawa during one of the colder months, don’t miss out on trying Shippoku Udon!
An-mochi Zoni (4) is a Zoni soup that uses white miso.But what makes it really stand out as different are the mochi rice cakes, filled with sweet Azuki bean paste!Probably only those who have had the chance to try this usual combination of white miso and Azuki bean paste will really understand how these flavors work together!

While reading about Kagawa’s best tourist spots and local cuisine, did you come across some things you would like to check out?By air or by land, Kagawa is easy to visit and explore.Come and enjoy its seasonal activities, and don’t forget to try the udon noodles and other specialties of Kagawa cuisine!

It is my opinion and summary. Please acknowledge that there are various opinions.