Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Japan Dec 2011 Day 2: Takamatsu 高松 (Kagawa香川, Shikoku四国)

Okayama 岡山 is the gateway to Shikoku 四国which, as the name suggests, consists of four main regions: Kagawa香川, Tokushima徳島, Kochi高知 and Ehime 愛媛. Crossing the Seto Ohashi bridge 瀬戸大橋 to Shikoku for the very first time, we arrived at Takamatsu高松in Kagawa 香川 for lunch. Although Kagawa is famous for sanuki udon (fresh udon with some light sauce), I opted tempura udon and was overwhelmed that it came in a wooden bucket! Chris had curry udon.

Takamatsu is famous for Ritsurin Koen栗林公園, a lovely strolling garden and one of the Japan Scenic Spots. Although it is not one of the three famous gardens of Japan, its refined beauty does not pale in comparison to the famous three. Make sure you visit Kikugetsu-tei 菊月亭for some wagashi and matcha (JPY710) and Hiraiho飛来封, an excellent photo-spot where you can get the best view of the garden and the hills behind.

Kiku in Japanese means “scoop” and getsu means “moon”. Once, a priest made an unreasonable request, “Get me the moon”. A monk said, “Yes” and scooped out the water in the lake with a reflection of the moon in it. This legend teaches the Japanese that they either give something as impossible or change the form from impossible to possible.

From Ritsurin, we hopped onto a JR train to Yashima屋島, from where you can catch a free shuttle bus (about 20min) up the mountain top to get a panoramic view of the straits between Okayama and Takamatsu.

I felt a little “train-sick” on the way back from Yashima to Tokushima that I hardly touched my Tokushima ramen at dinner.

Hotel: Hotel Sunroute Tokushima
I strongly recommend this hotel! It’s right opposite the station with very spacious and modern rooms and a nice natural hot spring bath!! Even people who are non-hotel patrons come to use the bath too.

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