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47 Prefectures from A to Y


Islands and mountains embrace the arts

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Kagawa may be the smallest prefecture in all of Japan, but don't let its size fool you; not only does it offer the best udon in the country, but it also boasts unique art and temples.

In order to view the picturesque shrine, Konpirasan, visitors must climb a total of 785 steep steps on Mount Zozu, located in the town of Kotohira. The journey starts with a path lined with stalls selling everything from souvenirs to handmade sweets. As you advance higher, the climb offers a spectacular view of the surroundings: lush vegetation, high mountain peaks, and the town lying at the foot of the hill. Although the main shrine isn't part of the famous 88-temple pilgrimage, it attracts a large number of people, both tourists and local residents, who enjoy the challenge of the hike as well as the breathtaking scenery. At Kyu-Konpira-Oshibai near this shrine, the Edo Period-style kabuki performance, characterized by the use of natural light, takes place every spring. This is another aspect of Konpirasan that cannot be missed if you plan a trip to Kagawa.

Udon is the quintessential food of Kagawa - not only can you feast on portions of the delicious dish on every corner of the streets, you can also learn how to make it. The Nakano Udon School specializes in teaching visitors how to make the dish from scratch. Udon noodles are made of three simple ingredients: wheat flour, water and salt. After mixing the calculated quantities using the hands, the mixture requires a lot of kneading, which can be tough to do. However, the enthusiastic and cheerful teachers have found a fun way to get through this stage; they get their students to dance during the kneading time. That's right, students take off their shoes and step on the bag of dough to the soundtrack of pop tunes. Cutting the noodles is also tricky because they have to be rolled first; a good knife is in order. After boiling the udon for five minutes, it's best enjoyed with a broth (we loved the homemade one from the Nakano Udon School), or simply topped with an egg, soy sauce and some green onion.

Kagawa faces the Seto Inland Sea, which is dotted by a variety of large and small islands. A ferry ride away from the shore of Takamatsu, Naoshima is by far the most fascinating island in the area. Also known as the 'art island,' Naoshima is practically a museum in itself; the island is populated with museums, galleries, installations on the beach, as well as tasteful cafes and shops. The island is rather large, so the best way to see it is to rent a bicycle or take the local bus. It seems that most visitors really enjoy the island's iconic pumpkins, located on either side of the island. One is red, and the other is yellow and both have been created by a famous Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama. They are the main attraction on the island, although the plethora of museums, narrow winding streets, and the gleaming inland sea are the real stars.

A large number of ferries cover routes between Takamatsu and other islands of the Seto Inland Sea, though some do require a changeover on the way. In addition to a series of permanent exhibits, every three years, a major art festival called Setouchi Triennale offers a number of special art exhibits all over these islands. The Triennale attracts people from across Japan as well as an increasing number of international visitors. It's definitely a one-of-a-kind concept in Japan.

To make it easier for tourists to visit Kagawa, LCC flights will begin flying directly from Narita to Kagawa starting this December.
Climb to new heights, practice a new skill and sail the seas in Kagawa Prefecture. You won't be disappointed.


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