Takamatsu Travel Guide
While it is a port of entry to Shikoku, Takamatsu is far from being a featureless travel hub. It is home to one of Japan’s most beautiful gardens, as well as the former home of a celebrated creative.
Whether you spend an afternoon or a couple days, this city will prove to be a worthy introduction to Japan’s smallest main island.
Come check out our Takamatsu travel guide as we cover the best things to do in Takamatsu, Japan.
Learn about how people lived their lives in rural Japan centuries ago by visiting Shikoku Mura during your trip to Takamatsu. Sitting at the base of Mount Yashima, this historical village is made up of structures relocated from around Shikoku.
From workshops that produced goods like soy sauce and sugar to farmhouses which played host to those who fed the area centuries ago, there is plenty to see as you walk around. Standout structures include lighthouses, bridges made from vine and wood, and a kabuki theatre. The last attraction occasionally hosts performances, so be sure to inquire whether one is going on during your visit to the area.
Next, be sure to check out the Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum. Preserving the Japanese workshop of a Japanese-American artist who spent his final years creating beautiful sculptures and other objects of artistic interest, it is a must-see for culturally-attuned travellers.
The biggest credits to his name: crafting bridges in the Hiroshima Peace Park and creating Sapporo’s Moerenuma Park in its entirety. As you enter his workshop, you’ll notice its age and old stylings, as this structure dates back to the Edo Period.
When you have finished admiring the 150 sculptures that were in varying stages of completion when Isamu Noguchi passed, check out his home, a restored merchant’s abode that also dates back to the Edo Period. End your tour in the garden behind Isamu’s home, which he created to commemorate his 80th birthday.
There is a pair of Buddhist temples that are worth seeing in the Takamatsu area. Start by checking out the Yashima-ji Temple. Part of the Shingon sect and one of the 88 temples included in the Shikoku pilgrimage, it is well-regarded for its peaceful atmosphere.
Around since the 8th century, it has numerous qualities that make it a significant attraction. These include a Hondo, a wooden statue of Senju Kannon, and a temple bell that have all been named Important Cultural Property by the Japanese government.
Yakuriji Temple is another Takamatsu area temple that is worth your time. Like Yashima-ji Temple, it is also a stop on the Shikoku temple pilgrimage trail. Don’t worry about having to climb the steep hill upon which this holy place is located – a funicular is available to haul visitors up its side.
Opened near the start of the 13th century, it is busy with travelling pilgrims in season – otherwise, its top attractions are its Bodhisattva statues, as well as the stunning views over the Seto Inland Sea.
While in Takamatsu, be sure to take in an exceptionally beautiful green space by dropping by Ritsurin Garden. Regarded by many horticultural experts as one of the best landscape gardens in Japan, its water features, sculpted shrubs, bridges, and pavilions sit at the base of the dense forests of Mount Shiun.
This makes it an exceptional spot to immerse yourself in nature if the stresses of the road are getting to you. Complete your relaxing visit by stopping by the Kikugetsu-tei teahouse, where you can enjoy this nation’s favourite daytime beverage in gorgeous surroundings.
Take in amazing vistas of the Takamatsu area by ascending Mount Yashima during your visit. Boasting a flat summit, it was the site of a decisive battle between rival clans in the 12th century. However, casual visitors will be floored by the sweeping views of the Seto Inland Sea from its viewpoints.
If you forget binoculars, there are coin-operated viewfinders you can use to take in the sights from this elevated vantage point.
Relax amid the remains of a former Japanese castle in Tamamo Park. Built prior to the Edo Period, Takamatsu Castle failed to survive the Meiji Restoration intact and now serves as a park for public enjoyment.
Its walls, moat, and the castle tower are still around, giving this green space an enjoyable atmosphere. Keep an eye on the moat – thanks to its exposure to the ocean, saltwater fish can often be seen swimming around in it.
As with most Japanese public parks, Tamamo Park is filled with cherry trees, making it the place to be during sakura blossom season.
End your visit to Takamatsu by spending a few hours enjoying everything the Marugame-machi Shopping Street has to offer. A covered arcade that stretches almost a half kilometre from end to end, it is home to a variety of shops and restaurants that will keep you and your friends busy until it is time to go back to your accommodation.