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Seto Ohashi Bridge

There is a strong chance that the city of Takamtsu will be your first experience of Shikoku as it is not only the southern destination of the Seto-Ohashi  - the 12.5 km series of bridges and viaducts for road and rail linking Shikoku and the Inland Sea to mainland Chugoku - but also the main ferry port of the island.

Much of the city was destroyed during WWII bombing raids but today maintains a breezy cosmopolitan feel with its many malls, arcades and designer shops. The nightlife is good with lots of bars and restaurants serving the local sanuki udon noodles and a variety of excellent seafood.

 However the main attraction is undoubtedly the Ritsurin-koen (above). A hundred years in completion, it remains one of the most beautifully designed of all Japan’s many gardens and its fame extends well beyond Shikoku’s shores. Effectively two distinct gardens within a garden, the southern section (Nantei) is more stylised and classically Japanese with carp ponds, artificial hills and rock formations.              

Many see the highlight as a visit to the ’Scooping the Moon’ teahouse (Kikugetsu-tei) to drink tea in the traditional tatami-floored rooms thrown open to reveal the garden views.

The northern section - Hokutei - is more European in feel with wide expanses of grassy meadows. It is popular both with those wanting to catch a glimpse of the spring blossom and picnickers alike. Look out for Tsuru Kame no Matsu - said to be the most beautiful of all the garden’s thousands of trees.

Yashima, situated on a plateau about 5km east of the city is worthy of a detour not only for its spectacular views over the Inland sea and surrounding countryside but also in order to visit Shikoku-mura - an open air village museum containing many examples of traditional dwellings and buildings from across the island. Yashimi-ji (above) - the temple in this area is detailed as number 84 of the 88 shrines to be visited by those on the pilgrimage.



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