A proper burger joint truly is a rarity on this quaint little island of Shikoku (Takamatsu city being quite blessed in this regard). Every city and every town from here to Matsuyama might have a McDonald’s or Mos Burger, but a locally owned and operated independent burger place cannot often be found.
The diner itself lies on the approach to the Yashima Plateau, just east of central Takamatsu city. It makes a great place to stop for people looking to hike up the plateau or visit the Yashima Temple, the 84th of 88 temples on the Shikoku Pilgrimage.
Sitting athwart some of the paths between temples 83 and 84, Santa's burger can certainly do its part to feed the hungry bellies of the road weary pilgrims. The portions are, compared to the few-and-far-between other burger joints on the island, quite generous. The meat is perfectly salted and spiced, and each table comes equipped with American mustard and ketchup so you are sure to get the flavor just how you want it. There are tons of options for the burgers, with extra meat, bacon, mushrooms, egg, and other savory selections available to build your perfect burger. All burgers come with your choice of salad, chips, or crispy potato wedges. The coffee was decent, and the diner has got good prices on beer (Budweiser, as well as others). Although the menu is good, the burgers are definitely the main draw.
On weekend mornings there is a breakfast menu with eggs, sausage, bacon, pancakes, and more.
The founder, owner, cook, and operator is quite the friendly character. He will gladly and cheerfully help anybody with the menu as best he can in English. Having lived overseas in the states for a few years, he brought his passion for burgers back with him to his home in Takamatsu. The name Santa for Santa’s Diner comes from an alternate reading of his own last name, Yamada. The restaurant has been a continued success, and keeps serving up delicious food to locals through the decades.
Santa’s Diner is also a sponsor of the local basketball team, Takamatsu Arrows, and the interior is filled with jerseys and signatures. Yamada has been their sponsor since the early days, soon after the team was founded.