Welcome to Kagawa Prefecture, a gateway to Shikoku!

The purpose of this guidebook is to help you enjoy contemporary Kagawa by deepening your appreciation of its traditions. Two millennia of history stand side by side with modern facilities. So acquiring some background knowledge will be a key to enhance the pleasure of your visit here.

Our land is a kind of stage jutting out into the Seto Inland Sea - a stage for innumerable human dramas played and replayed from time immemorial.

A mild climate and arable soil have offered us a stable base, while the scattered islands in the Inland Sea have challenged us to be daring and enterprising in our activities.

Sanuki, as the province was called for nearly 1,400 years, means "a small land among the mountains." Certainly the area is small even by Japanese standards. But this smallness has taught the inhabitants to live closely together and close to nature herself.

Many things they made were of modest size, too. But the stories about htem are often far from insignificant. Thus we believe these small things will provide a sharp lens to illuminate not only the life-style of local people in the past but also their spirit, feelings and ways of thinking that still infuse our modern existence.

There are great things to discover here, too, along with folk tales, legends and anecdotes deeply revealing of Japanese psychology and of human psychology in all lands.

We therefore heartily wish this little book may be a helpful guide for your movements around Kagawa and, if possible, an introduction to the heart and soul of the Japanese people as well.


Area:1,882.11 km Population:1,024,600

Kagawa Prefecture on the Sanuki Peninsula presents itself like a fan unfolded on the Seto Inland Sea. Except for its southern monutains bordering Tokushima and Kochi Prefectures, it consists of 5 cities and 38 towns.

The seasons, clearly divided into spring, summer, autumn and winter, provide their own joys, beauties and products for the carefree inhabitants, whose average life span is among the top 5 in Japan.

The climate is mild. The average temperature in January, the coldest month, is 28℃. The average rainfall for the year is 870mm, and 20% of it falls during the rainy season in June. Snowfall is rare, but sometimes it is fairly heavy.

Traditionally, Shikoku was best known as the island for the Shikoku Pilgrimage - a pilgrimage around the 88 Sacred Sites of Shikoku. 23 of the 88 Sites are located in thes prefecture. Even today, many people who visit Shikoku are pilgrims or tourists arriving more or less in a spirit of pilgrimage.

"Kompira-san" has been another attraction of Sanuki - a shrine that has enjoyed nationwide fame for hundreds of years.

In 1988, Kagawa celebrated her centenary. In the same year, the Seto Ohashi Bridge opened. New economic growth and cultural renovation are expected from the "transportation revolution" the Bridge has brought about in this island.

"What will we make of our second century?" This is what we are asking ourselves, looking back to the past and then looking forward to what we may be able to create in the future.

Some Japanese for You

Where is the station? - Eki wa doko desu ka

*hospital (byoin), toilet (toire), bank (ginko), etc.

Where is this train for? - Kono kisha wa doko iki desu ka

*bus (basu), tram (densha)

Where are we now? - Koko wa doko desu ka

I want to go to・・・-・・・e ikitai (no desu ga)

I want to have・・・- ・・・ga hoshii (no desu ga)

I want to get off at・・・- ・・・de oritai (no desu ga)

*this (kore), that (are), there (asoko)

I'll take this. How much? - kore wo kudasai. Ikura

I feel pain here. - Koko ga itai (no desu ga)

*teeth (ha), head (atama), stomach (i), throat (nodo)

Fire! - Kaji!

Ambulance! - Kyukyusha!

Stop thief! - Dorobo!

My name is・・・- (Watashi wa)・・・desu

I stay at・・・- (Watashi wa)・・・ ni imasu

Good Morning! (Ohayo!),

Good day! (konnichiwa!)

I've enjoyed the food and drink. (Gochisosama!)

Good night! (Oyasumi nasai!)

Thank you! (Arigato!)

Japan in Miniature

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Updated on 22 September 2016 | E-mail Steve | 四国新聞社出版『KAGAWA』より

Bilingualism and Japanology - Online publications by Steve McCarty
annotated in English | Japanese: バイリンガリズムと日本学