December 3rd, 2008 Posted in Shikoku, Travel | No Comments »

Shikoku is most famous, perhaps, for the 88 Sacred Buddhist temples present on the island. Thousands of pilgrims each year visit Shikoku to complete the circuit which is said to help rid an individual of the 88 worldly passions and help them get closer to enlightenment. Despite the fact that there are 88 Sacred Buddhist temples on the relatively small-ish island of Shikoku, we didn’t visit a single one.

Nope, instead we went to a Shinto shrine quite famous for the massive amount of stairs leading you up to the Inner Shrine.

Kotohira is about an hour train ride from Takamatsu, the city we were based in during our stay in Shikoku. We arrived at the station shortly after 10am, making sure we had more than enough time to complete the ascent and descent before evening.

The station, and town, were small and unassuming. It was clear that almost everyone passing through the station was there to do the same thing as us, climb the stairs to the top of the famous shrine. I couldn’t really see any other reason why people would make the trip out to Kotohira.

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Modern Art Island

December 1st, 2008 Posted in Shikoku, Travel | 1 Comment »

One of the perks of visiting Shikoku the weekend before last was the chance to cross the Inland Sea. There are a few ways to get to Shikoku overland, all of which involve crossing – via ship or bridge – the large, beautiful inland sea. When we crossed during the day, we were treated to upwards of 20-minutes of admiring the ocean waters simply peppered with small, tiny islands. It is a real treat.

Since the inland sea has so many islands within it, we knew that we wanted to get out to at least one of them during our stay. With so many to choose from, it was almost as though we simply had to pick one from a hat. We ended up picking Naoshima, largely because I was interested in seeing a Monet exhibit at one of the art museums, and I am happy that we did!

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November 26th, 2008 Posted in Shikoku, Travel | No Comments »

Shikoku, the smallest “big” island of Japan, is most well-known for its access to the inland sea of Japan. In order to get to Shikoku, you have to cross this sea by boat or on a bridge and the sea is filled with tiny, beautiful little islands.

One of the most famous of those little islands is Megijima (often nicknamed Onigashima) which is just a short ferry ride from Takamatsu, our base city on Shikoku. Onigashima was made famous by the popular story of Momotaro and is believed to be where the Oni (loosely translated as demon or ogre) lived in a cave.

While we didn’t get a chance to make a trip out to Onigashima, we opted to visit a different island instead, we did enjoy all the little references to the story about town. Including this big statue outside Takamatsu station.

This statue definitely shows the Oni’s softer side, he really doesn’t seem that ferocious at all! I could defeat him!