The Prefecture of Sanuki Udon
by mintoo on May 2, 2017 - 3:11am
While many tourists know all about Kyoto, Tokyo, Osaka, and Hokkaido, not many people know about the prefectures at the bottom of Japan. No, it is not Okinawa. In fact, the smallest prefecture in Japan is near the bottom of Japan, in an area called Shikoku. This particular prefecture is called Kagawa. I personally have not been to Kagawa, nor passed through it before. However, there are many unique places and things to enjoy there. I will be introducing Kagawa’s signature dish, Sanuki Udon, Ritsurin Koen, Megijima Island, and a shopping arcade in Takamatsu city.
First, I will give a little background information on Kagawa. Kagawa is located at the northeast region of Shikoku Island, and it is at the end of the Shikoku Pilgrimage Route, which requires one to pass 88 Buddhist temples. There are about 1 million people staying in Kagawa. The capital city is Takamatsu, and the most famous local dish is Sanuki Udon, one of Japan’s most famous types of udon noodles. Sanuki is the old name of Kagawa, and Sanuki Udon is actually quite affordable, costing only a few hundred yen. This udon noodle is so famous that there are actually over 700 Sanuki Udon restaurants to be found around Kagawa.
Next, I will introduce Ritsurin Koen. Ritsurin Koen is a landscape garden (“Koen” means garden) in Takamatsu city and is considered one of the best gardens in Japan. It was constructed during the early Edo Period (18th centuries) by the then ruling clan, Matsudaira Clan, who are relatives of the Tokugawa Shogun. This huge garden has many ponds, small hills, trees, and pavilions. The pavilions include those Japanese-styled, and western-styled. Other than these common features, there are also a folk museum, shops, and a few rest houses. One can visit the garden in the middle of the afternoon, and enjoy tea while looking out to the vast garden. I have visited many different types of gardens in Japan, and especially love those with a rich history. I am definitely looking forward to visiting Ritsurin Koen to learn about its history, and to relax while enjoying the atmospheres of the Japanese style garden in the south and the western style garden in the north.
Lastly, I will mention about Megijima Island and Takamatsu’s shopping arcade. Megijima, as its name suggests, is an island slightly off the port of Takamatsu. This island is less than 4 kilometers long and 1 kilometer wide. There actually are people living there, surrounded by forests and mountains. Megijima is connected to the well-known folktale, Momotaro. In Momotaro, the strong and small boy visited an island to defeat ogres. The island in the legend is called Onigashima, meaning Ogre Island. To support this story, there is a cave near Megijima’s highest peak. In the cave, statues related to Momotaro can be enjoyed. One can also go to see the statue of Nichiren, the founder of the Nichiren sect of Japanese Buddhism. At the top of the mountain, a 360-degree view of the Seto Inland Sea awaits. I have seen the Seto Inland Sea before, and it has never failed to amaze me. The view of this inland sea with its islands and the water surrounding them is something that is definitely not to be missed.
As one returns to Takamatsu from Megijima, he or she can drop by the shopping arcade filled with restaurants and shops. Shopping arcades in Japan are ceilinged shopping streets with many shops, and sometimes apartments, at the sides. This particular arcade in Kagawa holds yet another record for being the longest in Japan, measuring at nearly 2.7 kilometers. I have been to many shopping arcades, so I will definitely look forward to spending a joyful time there.
In conclusion, I have introduced Sanuki Udon, Ritsurin Koen, Megijima Island, and Takamatsu’s shopping arcade. Having been to many places in Japan, I love to compare how each prefecture is different, and the unique characteristics they portray. I am definitely looking forward to enjoying not only the famous and cheap Sanuki Udon, but also the historical Ritsurin Koen, the green Megijima Island and long shopping arcade.
Kagawa Official Tourism Website
Japan Guide – Kagawa