Chugoku/Shikoku

“Visit to Japanese Shrine Kotohira-gu” to Pray for Happiness and Hot Spring Tour

The Kotohira-gu Shinto shrine has been popular among Japanese people for a long time and nicknamed “Sanuki-no Konpira-san.” It enshrines a deity associated with seafaring. On both sides of its entrance path, stores such as souvenir shops and udon (thick Japanese wheat noodles) restaurants stand side by side up to its large front gate called “dai-mon” in Japanese. The entrance path consists of 785 stone steps, and visitors can enjoy climbing the stone steps to approach to its main hall while watching various Japanese-style stores. In its precincts, there are plenty of historic and cultural places for visitors to visit, including the shrine’s main hall and other buildings and Japanese classic arts. Furthermore, there are Japanese cultural properties here and there near the shrine, such as an old kabuki theater called the Konpira Grand Theater (Konpira Oshibai in Japanese) which is also known as Kanamaru-za. A hot spring district is also near the shrine, where visitors fell as if they were back in the Showa period. In Konpira, visitors can fully feel a nostalgic Japan.

“Visit to Japanese Shrine Kotohira-gu” to Pray for Happiness and Hot Spring Tour

Complete Process :Three days two nights
Takamatsu Airport
Travel Time:About 30 min

BusBus:About 30 min

Takamatsu Central Shopping Mallpic
inn Stay in Takamatsu-shi
Takamatsu-shi
Travel Time:About 60 min

TrainTrain:About 60 min

Konpira Grand Theater (Kanamaru-za)pic
Nakano Udon School’s Kotohira Branchpic
Walking up Kotohira-gu’s Stone Stepspic
Kotohira-gu’s Main Hallpic
Kotohira-gu’s entrance Pathpic
inn Konpira Onsenpic
Travel Time:About 90 min

TrainTrain:About 90 min

Ritsurin-koen Garden, One of Japan’s Special Places of Scenic Beautypic
Travel Time:About 30 min

BusBus:About 30 min

Takamatsu Airport

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Introduction to Spots
Takamatsu Central Shopping Mall
Almost all the shopping mall is roofed by arcades, whose total length is 2.7 kilometers long and which are boasted as having the longest total length in Japan (Osaka City’s Tenjinbashi-suji Shopping Mall is roofed by a single arcade, whose total length is 2.6 kilometers and which is boasted as the longest single arcade in Japan). Located in the center of the Takamatsu Central Shopping Mall is the redeveloped Marugame-machi shopping district, where new stores are being opened one after another. In shopping districts which as extending to north and south from its symbolic dome called the Mitsumachi Dome, there are various shops standing side by side, including restaurants which serve dishes cooked by famous chefs, shops selling famous brands, and commodity shops selling attractive goods. Please have a visit to your favorite shop while walking in the mall!
・Opening Times / Holidays: Different to each shops.
・Parking lots: Available (toll parking lots operated by the town)
・TEL: 087-823-0001 (the Takamatsu Marugame-machi Shopping District Promotion Association)
・Latitude 34 degrees 20 minutes 42.0 seconds north
・Longitude 134 degrees 03 minutes 01.0 seconds east
Konpira Grand Theater (Kanamaru-za)
The “Konpira Grand Theater” was built in 1835, and it is one of the oldest theaters still remaining in Japan. It popularly nicknamed “Kanamaru-za,” and has a stage and tatami box seats (masu-seki in Japanese) which make visitors feel as if they were back in the Edo era. In each year, many Kabuki fans and enthusiasts come to the theater from all over Japan to see a Kabuki play which is called “Shikoku Konpira Kabuki Oshibai” and held in each spring.
・Location: 1241 Otsu, Kotohira-cho, Nakatado-gun, Kagawa Prefecture
・TEL: 0877-75-6714 (Executive Office for Shikoku Konpira Kabuki Oshibai)
・Opening Time: 9:00 to 17:00
・Holidays: None
・Entrance Fee: 500 yen per person (Extra fee is necessary for kabuki play.
・Latitude 34 degrees 11 minutes 04.6 seconds north
・Longitude 133 degrees 49 minutes 05.0 seconds east
Nakano Udon School’s Kotohira Branch
Please enjoy thick Japanese wheat noodles in soup, which are traditional and popular food produced in Kagawa Prefecture and called “Sanuki-udon”. It would become an energy source for walking up long stone steps when visiting the Kotohira-gu Shinto shrine. In a restaurant called the Nakano Udon School, visitors can joyfully experience how to make, stamp and cut udon dough, and finally take and enjoy Sanuki-udon in the center location of udon production. It will surely be very pleasant for visitors to boil and eat fresh udon made by themselves.
・Location: 796 Kotohira-cho, Nakatado-gun, Kagawa Prefecture
・TEL: 0877-75-0001
・Opening Times: Open every day from 9:00 to 17:00.
・Website: http://www.nakanoya.net/
・Latitude 34 degrees 11 minutes 12.9 seconds north
・Longitude 133 degrees 49 minutes 05.5 seconds east
Walking up Kotohira-gu’s Stone Steps
Visitors must walk up Kotohira-gu’s stone steps before visiting the Shinto shrine. The stone steps to enter the shrine is very famous in Japan, and the number of the steps is 785 steps to the shrine’s main hall and 1368 steps in total to its rear hall. In a museum called the “Culture Zone” which visitors will find en route to Kotohira-gu, they can watch and appreciate famous Japanese paintings and other invaluable art works.
Kotohira-gu’s Main Hall
Visitors will finally arrive at the main hall after having walked up the 785 stone steps. After having visited the main hall and prayed there with full respect, please watch and appreciate Japanese “makie” paintings of cherry trees painted on the main hall’s left and right wallboards as well as on the ceilings of Kotohira-gu’s main hall, hall of offerings and worship hall. In the worship hall which visitors should also visit, Shinto priests and shrine maiden women dance during Kotohira-gu’s shrine rituals held several times per year. A man-made hill spread on the northeast side of the main hall, which serves as an observation platform. From the observation platform, visitors can see beautiful views of the Sanuki Plain and Mt. Iino known as “Sanuki Fuji.” And please do not forget to purchase Japanese amulets at a place called “shinsatsu juyosho” where people can obtain Shinto charms, talismans, amulets and other items. “Yellow amulets for happiness” are also provided here.
・Address: 892-1 Kotohira-cho, Nakatado-gun, Kagawa Prefecture
・TEL: 0877-75-2121 (Kotohira-gu Shrine Office)
・Open Times: The main hall’s door opens at 6:00. It closes at 5:00 p.m. in January to February and in November to December, at 5:30 p.m. in March to April and in September to October, and at 6:00 p.m. in May to August.
・Website: http://www.konpira.or.jp/
Kotohira-gu’s entrance Path
After having worshiped at the Shinto shrine, please enjoy walking its entrance path which make visitors feel Japanese traditional elegance. Along its front entrance path, many stores stand side by side, including those selling local souvenirs as well as restaurants and sweet shops serving local specialty foods, where visitors can enjoy shopping and eating foods. In a museum called “Kinryo-no-sato” there which is a sake brewery used to make a local sake brand called “Kinryo,” visitors can watch and learn traditional ways to brew sake. Ice creams topped with puffed rice (which is called “oiri” in Japanese and is one of traditional Japanese sweets in Kagawa) are sweets very famous and popular among Japanese people regardless of whether they are young or old, or males or females
・Location: Kinryo-no-sato, 623 Kotohira-cho, Nakatado-gun, Kagawa Prefecture
・TEL: 0877-73-4133
・Opening Times: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on weekdays, and 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays. Open every day.
・Website: http://www.nishino-kinryo.co.jp/museum/
Konpira Onsen
After having visited the shrine, please take a bathe in a hot spring called Konpira Onsen to refresh yourself. The hot spring is very near to Kotohira-gu, and various Japanese-style inns and hotels with full of elegance stand side by side there, where you can feel relaxed and relieved from the fatigue of your trips.
・TEL: 0877-75-3500 (Kotohira-cho Tourism Association)
・Website: http://www.kotohirakankou.jp/
Ritsurin-koen Garden, One of Japan’s Special Places of Scenic Beauty
This is a garden built in the Edo era by a domain lord family (called “daimyo-teien” in Japanese), and the domain lord family spent more than 100 years to complete its construction. A popular travel guidebook called “Michelin Green Guide Japan” (which is printed in English and French) introduced this garden and ranked as three starred one, and a U.S.A. specialist magazine on Japanese gardens ranked the garden very highly. This garden elegantly changes its beautiful views season by season, visitors may wish to visit it again and again. The garden opens when the sun rises, and you can enter the garden very early in the morning and feel as if you were a domain lord. Located next to the garden’s east gate is a souvenir shop which is called “Ritsurin-an” and sells Kagawa’s local specialty products ranging from delicious foods to splendid crafts, where visitors can enjoy shopping.
・Location: 1-20-16 Ritsurin-cho, Takamatsu-shi, Kagawa Prefecture
・TEL: 087-833-7411
・Opening Hours: 5:30 to 19:00 from June to August (the garden opens at sunrise and closes at sunset in respective months in principle).
・Holiday: None
・Admission Fee: JPY410 (adult)
・Website: http://ritsuringarden.jp/