By Peter Sidell
Takamatsu, capital city of Kagawa, Japan’s smallest prefecture, provides a variety of outstanding attractions.
We arrived late afternoon and headed straight to Takamatsu Castle ruins. Built in 1587, it is one of three Japanese castles on the sea. Now called Tamamo Park, it became a designated National Historic Site in 1955. The moat is filled with seawater from the Seto Inland Sea. Instead of the usual carp swimming around the moat, this one had snapper begging for breadcrumbs.
There are many interesting buildings and artifacts that survived the wars along with Hiunkaku Garden filled with beautiful pine trees planted by the Emperor and Empress from 1926 – 1989. Walking around the grounds provided a peaceful calm. As you will find everywhere in Japan, punctuality is a way of life and when 5PM rolled around, the gates were closed.
We left and walked a few blocks to Symbol Tower up on an observation deck to view the harbor sunset. The nearby islands provided a beautiful scenic backdrop.
Takamasu has three specialty foods: Sanuki Udon, Sweet Yellow Tail (farmed with olive powder placed in their feed), and Honetsuki-dori (Grilled Chicken on the bone). All of these special foods actually came from nearby Marugame City, but can be found throughout Kagawa Prefecture.
Using a guidebook we set out for one of the recommended Honetsuki-dori restaurants in the shopping arcade. We stopped at a shoe store and asked for directions. The owner told us to ignore the guidebook and go where the locals eat, Furusato Restaurant. I am so glad we asked because that was the best chicken I have ever had. A very large thigh is grilled using special spices. While waiting for the chicken to cook they served us some of the olive powder fed yellow snapper and it also was very tasty.
Early the next morning we walked 2 kilometers to Ritsurin Garden, one of the most beautiful in Japan. It is a feudal lord garden built in the late 16thcentury. We met a volunteer guide, who explained the garden’s history. There are six ponds and 13 landscaped hills, with over 1000 pine trees. The total area is 185 acres, which makes it the largest Cultural Property Garden in Japan. Since it was early morning he recommended we take the boat ride on the main pond because of the reflections. We were able to capture some beautiful pictures.
It was time to leave Takamatsu and Miwa had not tried the Sanuki Udon. As luck would have it there was a little Udon shop just inside the station near the platform of our next train. She left this very nice city with a big smile on her face.
Shikoku is not a onetime trip. We only covered about a fourth of the area and next year plan on continuing our adventure.
Tourist Information Center is located just outside Takamatsu Station. Follow the signs.
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Born in the U.S.A. - Worked 30 years in executive management high tech Industry, owned a management consulting firm and a wildlife art publishing company. In 2012 completed the Ultimate Travel Writer’s course and published my first article Tower Hopping in Japan with Travel Post Monthly. Since then I have published travel related articles and books in the U.S., Japan, and Costa Rica. As of 2018 I have traveled all 8 regions in Japan. My objective in writing articles is to expose prospective tourists to areas of Japan outside the Tokyo - Kyoto corridor. I enjoy writing about the outdoors, festivals, crafts, museums, local food, history, and the wonderful people I have met along the way. Residing in Yokohama for over five years, I have explored the entire city by foot and have written about my experiences. There is so much to see in Japan.