Takamatsu

One of Takamatsu's most famous landmarks
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Ritsurin Garden.

Flying one hour south from Tokyo will land you here, in Takamatsu. As the gate to Honshu, it’s easily accessible via the JR Takamatsu Station (“The Smile Station”), the Seto Bridge (Seto Oohashi), Takamatsu Airport, and the expressways connecting Shikoku to the larger island.

Takamatsu City (高松市) is the prefectural seat of Kagawa and the largest metropolitan area in the prefecture. It's a castle town on the sea, though its castle is mostly ruins, with a population of about 420,000 people. To the north is the Setouchi, the Seto Inland Sea (瀬戸内、瀬戸内海), and to the south, past Takamatsu Airport (高松空港), is the Sanuki mountain range that separates Kagawa and Tokushima Prefectures.

Not only is it the capital of our prefecture, but Takamatsu is also a core designated city for Shikoku (as of April 1999), the home of JR Shikoku, the region's center of administration, economy, and culture, and the gateway to Shikoku through Kobe.

It's a small, quiet, seaside city, that has its own character far removed from the larger cities in the country. If you take some time to wander the alleys cutting across the main shopping arcades, you'll discover hundreds of bar, restaurants, clubs, and weird shops, and you'll see just how hipster this city is.

Takamatsu
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The 32 towns that make up Takamatsu.

Takamatsu is made up of 32 towns that were merged into one district around 1998. These towns include Shionoe, Konan, Yashima, Yamada, Kita, Mure, Kagawa, Inchinomiya, Bushozan, Ota, Enza, Kozai, Megijima, Ogijima, Oshoma, Aji, Higashi and others.

Takamatsu History

Takamatsu City was officially incorporated on February 15, 1890, becoming the 40th incorporated city in Japan. It was founded during the Kamakura Period (1185 - 1333). In 1588, Ikoma Chikamasa built a castle on the Tamamo coast, and called it Takamatsu Castle (the castle ruins are now known as Tamamo Park, and they're across the street from JR Takamatsu and the ferry ports.) The Ikoma family ruled the castle for 54 years, followed by a 220-year reign by the Matsudaira clan.

After the feudal system was abolished in the Meiji Period, Takamatsu became the official capital of Kagawa. Decades later, in 2006, Takamatsu City absorbed the surrounding towns of Kagawa Town, Kounan, Aji, Mure, Kokubunji, and Shionoe into its borders.

Points of Interest

Symbol Tower
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Another landmark of Takamatsu, next to the station and port
  • Ritsurin Garden (栗林公園): "Chestnut Grove Garden"; an Edo-period Imperial garden in Takamatsu, considered one of the best in Japan. Click here for the garden's website (Japanese).
  • Takamatsu City Museum of Art (高松市美術館)
  • Tamamo Park and castle ruins (玉藻公園)
  • Sunport (サンポート): This is the business and leisure district surrounding JR Takamatsu and the ferry ports, including Symbol Tower and the Red Lighthouse ("Seto Marker," the world's first glass lighthouse.)
  • Symbol Tower (シンボルタワー): This tower is the tallest building on Shikoku and contains shops, restaurants, and businesses. It's one of the best places in Takamatsu to find Kagawa souvenirs, and if you're ever feeling homesick or just really really want a burger, you can find a Freshness Burger on the 2nd floor. Click here for the official website.
  • Yashima (屋島)
  • Shionoe (塩江)
  • Goshikidai (五色台)
  • Kitahama Alley (北浜町): "North Coast Alley," this is a small square of warehouses-turned-shops near the water, a short walk from the ferry piers and JR Station. Of special interest are the restaurants, such as Cantina (a Spanish restaurant good for large group events), Umie (a coffeeshop restaurant above an old garage that overlooks the Seto Sea, and is particularly useful for studying), and others. You can also find a few clothing stores among the food.
  • Takamatsu Airport (高松空港)

Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage Points

  • Sanuki-Kokubunji (讃岐国分寺), in Kokubunji-cho (国分寺町)
  • Negoroji (根香寺), in Nakayama-cho (中山町)
  • Ichinomiyaji (一宮寺), in Ichinomiya-cho (一宮町)
  • Yashimaji (屋島寺), in Yashima Higashi-cho(屋島東町)
  • Yakuriji (八栗寺), in Mure-cho (牟礼町)

Transportation

  • JR Takamatsu
  • Kotoden
  • Ferry
  • Busses

Sources

  1. Takamatsu City Web Site, http://www.city.takamatsu.kagawa.jp/english/profile/
  2. Japan National Tourism Organization, https://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/regional/kagawa/takamatsu.html
  3. Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage website, http://www.88shikokuhenro.jp/index.html
  4. Japan Guide, http://www.japan-guide.com
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