2016/6/8 updated

8 HIGHLIGHTS OF TAKAMATSU, SHIKOKU GATEWAY CITY

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Takamatsu is a port town facing the Seto Inland Sea and has served as the gateway to Shikoku from Honshu since long before the bridges were constructed between the two main islands. The town center has easy access from the port and is easy to explore due to its modest size; you can get around easily by train, bus or rental bike. Despite its size, Takamatsu has many attractions including fabulous Japanese style gardens, art exhibitions and historical monuments. Kagawa is well known as the “udon prefecture", but the local food does not end there – a variety of seafood from the Inland Sea, local fresh vegetables and the famous chicken with bone are also good food options.

1. RITSURIN GARDEN

Ritsurin Garden is one of the most well-known Japanese style gardens in Japan. In recent years, it has become known for being awarded the highest mark of excellence by Michelin Green Guide Japan.
This circuit style daimyo garden is said to preserve the look of the early Edo period and is the largest of the gardens designated as places of special scenic beauty by the national government. One of the best ways to appreciate the garden is to have some tea or a meal at the elegant tea houses located within the garden.
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2. Tamamo Park - Takamatsu Castle Ruins

Tamamo Park is built on the ruins of Takamatsu Castle where the successive lords of Takamatsu, the Ikukoma and Matsudaira families, used to live. It is known as one of the three most beautiful water castles in Japan, with moats that draw water directly from the Inland Sea. Within the castle premises is Hiunkaku, a building designated as a national Important Cultural Property, along with its garden, Hiunkaku Garden, also designated as a place of scenic beauty by the government.
© Kagawa Prefecture Tourism Association (341)

via © Kagawa Prefecture Tourism Association

3. YASHIMA

Yashima, as its name suggests, used to be an island separated from Takamatsu city by a shallow sea, but is now part of Shikoku Island via reclamation. From the viewing platform at the peak of Yashima one can observe the beauty of the Inland Sea dotted by thousands of islands, as well as the city of Takamatsu. At the foot of Yashima is Shikoku village, where traditional architecture are exhibited that includes restored farmhouses and works by Tadao Ando, a globally renowned architect, alongside seasonal plants and flowers.
© Kagawa Prefecture Tourism Association (369)

via © Kagawa Prefecture Tourism Association

4. ART

Being a venue of the Setouchi Triennale, discovering artworks in the town is not unusual. The city has close associations with internationally renowned artists and architects such as Isamu Noguchi, Tadao Ando and Yayoi Kusama. There are as many as four museums in Takamatsu city alone: Kagawa Museum, Takamatsu City Museum of Art, Shikoku Mura Gallery, designed by Tadao Ando during the Yashima area and Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum.

5. SHOTENGAI - SHOPPING ARCADE

The shopping arcade of Takamatsu is the longest of this kind, with a total 2.7km of roofed shopping streets in the middle of the city. Katahara-machi, Marugame-machi and Minami Shin-machi has many department stores and other retail stores, while Lion-dori, which runs pararell to them, has more izakaya (bars) and restaurants, and where more people are seen in the evenings. Each of the street “machi” has a distinct atmosphere; some have preserved so-called showa-retro tastes, while others have opted for a more underground atmosphere.

6. KITAHAMA ALLEY

Kitahama Alley, completed in 2000, is a relatively new addition to the Takamatsu waterfront. The old renovated warehouse quarter has been turned into a commercial complex close to the Takamatsu ferry port and is now a well-known tourist attraction with modern cafés, restaurants, shops, hair salons and galleries, as well as occasional flea markets and concerts.
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7. BUSSHOZAN

Ten minutes by train from central Takamatsu city will take you to Busshozan, a town traditionally known as monzen-machi (a temple town). Its streets are lined with traditional merchant houses and town houses that have retained their traditional appearance. However, there are also unique shops and cafés, as well as the now popular Busshozan Onsen (spa). In Busshozan, old and new has been merged into one town.
© Kagawa Prefecture Tourism Association (329)

via © Kagawa Prefecture Tourism Association
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8. LOCAL FOOD

Takamatsu city has many famous udon restaurants, each of which has a distinct style and characteristics. Some are open only in the morning and at lunch, while others open only in the evening and primarily serve curry udon. Rapidly gaining popularity is Honetsuki-dori (literally meaning "chicken with bone"): chicken seasoned with garlic and salt, roasted to a crispy skin and juicy meat. Of course, you can’t miss the variety of seafood on offer from the Seto Inland Sea, for example, Olive Hamachi (yellow tail).
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[Access from Tokyo]
By Airplane: Appx. 1.2 hour from HND/NRT Airports to Takamatsu Airport (ANA/JAL/Jetstar)
By Train: Appx. 3.5 hours from Tokyo Station to Okayama Station by Sinkansen (bullet train) and 1 hour from Okayama station to Takamatsu station by Marine Liner (express train). Appx. 5 hours in total
By Night Bus: 10 hours from Tokyo Station to Takamatsu Station

[Access from Osaka]
By Train: Appx. 50 minuets from Shin Osaka Station to Okayama Station by Sinkansen (bullet train) and Appx. 60 minuets from Okayama Station to Takamatsu Station by Marine Liner (express train). Appx. 2 hours in total
By Bus: 4 hours from Osaka/Umeda Station to Takamatsu Station
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