Traveling will be better enjoyed if you have knowledge about the area you are visiting before you start your journey, don’t you think? With that, below is an introduction of Kagawa, a prefecture that is found in Japan’s Shikoku region.
What kind of place is Kagawa?
Located in the northeastern portion of Shikoku region, Kagawa is a prefecture that faces Seto Inland Sea on the north side that is characterized by a flat stretch of land, and is surrounded by the Sanuki Mountains on the south. Kagawa also includes the islands floating in the Seto Inland Sea such as Shodoshima. It was called “Sanuki no kuni” in ancient times, and during the Edo period (1603 – 1867), the industry that particularly flourished in the area was the production of salt, sugar and cotton. Later in 1871, Takamatsu and Marugame Prefectures were formed through Haihan-chiken (a system that abolished feudal domains and established prefectures), followed by the neighboring Tokushima and Ehime Prefectures, leading to the birth of Kagawa Prefecture in 1888 after a series or mergers and separations. It has the smallest area out of all the prefectures in Japan, but despite its small size, it boasts an environment that fuses the conveniences of a city and the beauty of rich nature.
Kagawa has a temperate climate throughout the year, with its average annual temperature standing at 15.8°C. It is characterized by a small amount of rainfall and many clear and sunny days. It is also known for being virtually unaffected by typhoons thanks to its topography that has it surrounded by mountains in the north and south. With that, its relatively stable weather has become a major attraction for sightseers.
Kagawa has one of the top savings rates in all of Japan, but the people in this prefecture like flashy wedding ceremonies and other celebrations, and they spend a lot on those. While they are reasonable and know how to swim with the tide, they are also laidback, warm and sociable people. The character of the people in Kagawa is often described with such extreme gap.
The dialect called “Sanuki-ben” is used in virtually all areas in Kagawa, but there are distinct differences in their use in the eastern and western parts of the prefecture. For instance, people living in the east (Takamatsu, Sanuki, etc.) add “-ken” and “-no” to the end of a word or sentence, while on the western side (Marugame, Zentsuji, etc.), those additions change to “-kin” and “-na”. Aside from those, the dialects of Kansai, Ehime, Okayama and other regions seep into Kagawa, creating various dialects.
Transport Access Guide
Access to Kagawa
By air, the gateway to Kagawa is Takamatsu Airport where domestic flights and international flight to and from Asia, North America, Europe and Oceania call. There are no trains from the airport that are directly linked to the areas in Kagawa, so visitors will need to travel by airport bus or taxi up to JR Takamatsu Station and other areas (in the case of the airport bus, the ride to JR Takamatsu Station takes about 35 minutes).
Transportation Inside Kagawa
It is quite easy to get to the key districts and other areas in Kagawa from Takamatsu Station, the biggest terminal station in the Shikoku region. There are multiple routes available, including those provided by JR lines and Kotoden Kotohira Line. Many people in Kagawa are now using private cars, so liner buses have been on a decline of late. In light of this, riding a taxi is also recommended when moving between sightseeing attractions.
Representative Tourist Attractions
In the Kagawa mainland, some of the famous sightseeing spots are Kotohira-gu (Kompira Shrine), a shrine famous for its long stone stairs with 1,368 steps that is dedicated to the deity of the sea, and Ritsurin Koen (Ritsurin Garden), a garden that best represents Japan which was given a perfect three-star rating in the Michelin Green Guide Japon. As for the remote islands, there are many spots that are well-known worldwide, including Shodoshima that is known for its production of olives, and Naoshima that is dotted with artworks throughout the island.
Must-try Specialty Dishes
Kagawa Prefecture, blessed with rich nature and temperate climate, is a place with plenty of ingredients and a wide array of specialty dishes. More than anything, though, the Sanuki Udon is what’s popular, drawing in lots of fans from all around Japan. With soil that is suitable for growing wheat and the active production of high-quality salt from the salt fields, Kagawa is filled with all the elements needed in making delicious udon. Its light taste and chewy texture can be really addicting! Aside from that udon, some other famous dishes in Kagawa are the unique hamburger that uses Sanuki Udon as an ingredient, and the Shoyu Mame that is made by soaking roasted soramame (broad beans) in a salty-sweet soy sauce-based sauce.
The popular souvenir in Kagawa is an exquisite confectionery that uses the traditional sugar called “wasanbon” that comes from sugarcane cultivated in the region. With its softness and refined sweetness, it is used in various confectioneries, including Japanese sweets. Processed goods, oils and cosmetics using the olives grown in Shodoshima are also famous for souvenirs. Further, Kagawa is home to the production of traditional crafts such as the Kagawa Shikki (lacquer ware) that has a wide variety of products, such as trays and flower vases.
Kagawa is a place that is filled with appealing traits, such as its pleasant climate, magnificent nature, delicious dishes and cutting-edge art. You have to go and explore Kagawa to see for yourself!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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