A feast for the eyes and stomach on the island of Shikoku
Rugby World Cup 2019 Travel Guide: Kagawa
In Kagawa’s capital, Takamatsu, you’ll find Ritsurin Garden, which has been named one of the most beautiful gardens in Japan.
Chichibugahama Beach in the coastal town of Mitoyo is not only picturesque but when the sun sets during low tide, you can take mirror photos, where everything reflects in the Seto Inland Sea.
Shodoshima, an island that is part of the prefecture, is known for growing olives and at Olive Park, you can enjoy walks through the groves. Angel Road – a ‘bridge’ from Shodoshima to Nakayoshima Island that forms at low tide – is also popular.
The 88 Temple Pilgrimage is a loop of more than 1,200km around Shikoku and while it is traditional to do the journey on foot, tour buses now follow the route.
If you don’t have time to visit all 88, look around Kagawa, which is home to a quarter of them. Kayaking or paddle boarding in the Seto Inland Sea allows you to take in the views of islands big and small from the water.
Kagawa is famous for Sanuki udon, a thick, square noodle, and there are udon-making courses on offer in the region if you want to test your culinary prowess. Honetsuki-dori, which is chicken grilled on the bone, is also a popular local dish.
Olive beef, where cattle feed on the remains of pressed olives, is another unique local product and there are a host of Kagawan sake brands to try too.
WORLD CUP VISIT
Kobe and Osaka (both four fixtures) are the nearest venues to Kagawa, which offers you the opportunity to explore another of Japan’s four main islands – Shikoku.
Related: Rugby World Cup 2019 venues
You can fly from Tokyo to Takamatsu in one hour 20 minutes, while you can also catch a train from Osaka (one hour 45 minutes) and Kyoto (two hours).
DID YOU KNOW?
Kagawa Prefecture produces more pine bonsai trees than anywhere else in Japan, with an 80% market share. The mild climate in the north-east of the island suits production and they’ve been grown there for more than 200 years.
If you’re spending a few days on the island and are planning to travel around, get an All Shikoku Rail Pass. It’s valid on most trains and the ferry between Takamatsu and Tonosho, so should save you money on individual fares.