Takamatsu, the capital of Kagawa Prefecture plays a pivotal role in Shikoku.
A maritime city, Takamatsu has long served as a gathering point for folk from Honshu arriving by way of the ferries arriving at Takamatsu Port or more recently via the Seto Ohashi Bridge connecting Honshu and Sakaide City. An airport brings in other, albeit fewer visitors from further afield.
A 20 minute walk from JR Takamatsu Station will take visitors to Ritsurin Park - a designated Special Beauty Spot of Japan since 1953. The 75-hectare site has as its backdrop, the impressive Mt. Shiun. The nickname of this park 'Ippo Ikkei' means 'One step, One scene' in English and refers to the various 'faces' displayed by the park - depending on the timing and purpose of your visit. During a visit to the park the view of Engetsukyo Bridge and the Kikugetsutei Teahouse are highly recommended - perhaps even a break sipping a green tea in one of the teahouses is a good idea, if feeling a little weary.
A 23-minute train journey from Takamatsu Station takes passengers out to the city suburbs - an area known as Yashima; location of a number of traditional houses and storage facilities at Shikokumura Village. The Kazurabashi suspension bridge - a la Indiana Jones movies - awaits the fearless and for those making it into the site, the 33 old Japanese houses filled with agricultural implements designated as tangible folklore cultural assets make interesting viewing.
In addition, for visitors with an interest in art, locally, Naoshima Island is the place to visit to access the artistic heart of this increasingly famous island. The island is best accessed by ferry from Takamatsu Port (50 mins).
Naoshima early in the 21st century still retains a feel of the 'ordinary' run-of-the-mill island, covered in hills and blanketed in greenery. Once ashore however, the realization that things are a tad different comes into play with all the stylish buildings and unique shaped monuments sat on the shoreline coupling with the other art related monuments around the island to create a slightly surreal atmosphere. Two art museums, both well established in the South of the island and named, respectively, Benesse House and Chichu Art Museum were designed by the now famous architect Ando Tadao.
According to local tradition, an emperor of old once paid a visit to the island and then bestowed upon it the name of Naoshima which means the island of purity and innocence; the pure hearts of the residents behind such an honor.