From the Shikoku Bilingual Guidebook by Akiko Takemoto and Steve McCarty. Takamatsu, Japan: Biko Books.

This Web page alternates English and Japanese for those studying either language.

Click to see a complete French translation of the English-Japanese chapter on Kagawa Prefecture

Also available is a more detailed guide to Kagawa Prefecture from the English language guidebook KAGAWA, published by the Shikoku Newspaper Company

Takamatsu City 高松市

- the Gateway to Shikoku -

Takamatsu is the capital of Kagawa Prefecture, which has traditionally been called the gateway to Shikoku, with the whole land of the prefecture jutting out into the Seto Inland Sea like a porch.


JR Takamatsu Station next to Takamatsu Harbor is the terminal of the Kotoku Line for Tokushima pref., the Yosan Line for Ehime Pref. and the Dosan Line for Kochi pref., while serving as the bus terminal to Tokushima, Matsuyama and Kochi City. Takamatsu Chikko just opposite JR Station is the terminal of Kotoden trams to and from Kotohira, the seat of 'Kompira-san'.


The New Takamatsu Airport handles non-stop flights to and from Seoul, Korea.


Another place in Takamatsu appropriate as a gateway to Shikoku is the Takamatsu Heike Monogatari Historical Museum that features not only the famous historical literature called Heike Monogatari but also about 50 great historical figures closely associated with Shikoku or native to Shikoku.


Takamatsu became the capital in 1587 with the advent of Lord Ikoma I as governor of Sanuki Province. The castle he built on the harbor was succeeded by 4 generations of his descendants, and then by 11 generations of Matsudaira lords, governing Takamatsu Province with a fief of 120,000 koku.


One ninth of the former castle ground is preserved as Tamamo Koen Park across the street from JR Takamatsu Station. The donjon is gone, but two of the 15 turrets and Mizute Gomon Gate from the 17th century (Important Cultural Properties) survived the air raid in 1945. Admission: 100 yen.


Traditionally the popular sightseeing spots in Takamatsu are Ritsurin Koen park near downtown and Yashima Plateau overlooking the city and the Inland Sea. They are accessible by bus or tram, with tarminals at Takamatsu Chikko just opposite JR Station.


Ritsurin Koen Park 栗林公園

30 minites' walk from JR Takamatsu Station.


The busy street in front of JR Takamatsu is the main street of downtown Takamatsu, and leads to the main gate to Ritsurin Koen Park, a National Special Scenic Spot. This spacious garden laid out with shapely mounds, cool ponds and about 160 varieties of trees and flowers provides a classic example of a Japanese garden or even a Chinese Taoist paradise fit for meditation.


Originally it belonged to a local warlord, and then to Lord Ikoma. When it was transferred to the Matsudairas, they spent five generations developing it into a larger stroll-type garden for their villa. Seasonal charms of flowers and blossoms such as ume (Japanese plum blossoms) in February, camellias in March, cherry blossoms in April, wisteria and azaleas in May, Irises and water lilies in June, giant lotuses in August, and Japanese bush clover in September, and brilliant maple leaves in November add to the pleasure of strolling.


Kikugetsu-tei, one of the pond-side teahouses, was originally one of the Matsudairas' formal buildings. The museum just inside the main gate houses a variety of mostly local handicrafts. There is a zoo, too, inside the gate.
Open daily. Admission to the park: About 300 yen.


Yashima Plateau 屋島

Bus: 30 minutes' ride from Chikko to the terminal (kotoden Bus for Yashima-sanjo or Yashima Hilltop.


Tram + Cable: 30 minutes' tram ride from Chikko to Yashima (Shido-sen Line) + 5 minutesユ cable-car ride.


Yashima, a pine-wooded tableland to the northeast of downtown Takamatsu, is one of the world's rare lava mesas, about 290 m high, 3 km wide, jutting 5 km out into the sea.


The hilltop, overlooking the archipelago of the Inland Sea, features Yashima-ji, an aquarium and observatories all linked by forest promenades.


One of the observatories, Dankorei, commands a view of the inlet fringed with memorials to the Gempei Yashima Battle (the second last battle in Gempei War fought between the two rival clans, the Minamotos and the Tairas).


Once a British poet, Edmund Blunden, visited Yashima and wrote a poem that was engraved on a stone here at Dankorei observatory:


Like a long roof, men say, and will they say,
This hill of warrior ghosts surmounts the plain...


Gempei War 源平合戦

In 794 Kyoto became the capital of Japan and it enjoyed peace for about 350 years (811 - 1155) -- the longest peace Japan has ever attained in her history.

The last 30 years of this period, however, were far from peaceful. In 1156 the first battle took place in the capital, thus opening up a new era dominated by martial emotions. Two martial clans -- the Minamoto and Taira clans -- began to acquire greater and greater influence in politics through fighting against each other in the name of "the Emperor" or "the Ex-Emperor".

In 1159, the Tairas succeeded temporarily in staving off the Minamotos. The 20 years that followed saw the Tairas rise to increasingly control the Imperial Family, inviting animosity from the reigning Emperors, the Ex-Emperors, powerful priests, warriors and lords, to say nothing of the Minamotos in exile.

In 1181 the patriarch of the clan Taira no Kiyomori died just when the tairas faced more battles against the Minamotos, who were gradually consolidating their power.

In 1183 the Tairas were driven from the Capital along with the 6-year-old Emperor Antoku and his mother, who was Kiyomori's daughter. They wandered far in search of supporters, while fighting losing battles.

Now in 1185, Minamoto no Yoshitsune attacked the remaining Tairas here at Yashima, then at Dan-no-ura in the westernmost corner of the Inland Sea, where the proud Taira finally fell, the noblewomen casting themselves into the sea with the child Emperor Antoku.

Thus the age of ancient nobility yielded to the age of Shoguns (1185 - 1867).

Yashima-ji Temple treasures in its museum a folding screen depicting the Gempei no Kassen Battles. The bell in the belfry, cast in Kyoto in 1223, was dedicated here for the repose of the defeated Tairas. But no one can strike the bell, as there is no hammer. They say, "Strike the bell, and invoke the ghosts of the Tairas."

On the last weekend in March the Gempei Yashima Festuvak is held, whose highlight is the Warriors' Pageant.

It was an insurrection caused by the discord between Emperor Goshirakawa (1127 - 92) and Ex-Emperor Sutoku (1119 - 64). Sutoku was defeated and banished to Sanuki (Kagawa Pref.) to die a miserable death 8 years later. His ashes were buried at Temple 81.In1184 the court elevated him to Shinto deity to placate his ghost.

Minamoto no Yoshitsune (1159 - 89): By bringing about victory in the civil war, Yoshitsune had greatly helped Minamoto no Yoritomo, his elder brother, who in 1192 was to establish the first Shogunate at Kamakura. But Yoshitsune had to spend the rest of his life escaping Yoritomo, until four years later he killed himself. His tragic life and death was so appealing to Japanese sentiment that he has taken on heroic proportion in Kabuki, Noh and Joruri plays, based on what is called Yoshitsune Literature.

Nasu no Yoichi  那須与一

Very few Japanese visit Yashima without being reminded of an episode:

It was on the afternoon of February 19, 1185, that Minamoto no Yoshitsune mounted another surprise attack against the Tairas at the then Yashima Island. Frightened by the imagined immensity of enemy forces, the Tairas jumped into their boats and sailed off. A fierce battle lasted for hours.


Now the sun was setting. Both sides began to retreat, when a fair vessel parted from the Taira legions and stopped about 80 m from the beach. Then a beautiful lady appeared from the cabin, produced a pole with a bright red fan on its top and beckoned to the puzzled warriors on the shore.


"What does she mean?" said Yoshitsune.


"Perhaps she is inciting one of us to shoot the fan. Or she may be inviting you to come out onto the front line her archers," said his attendant.


"Then let it be shot down by someone," said Yoshitsune.

Soon a young man called Nasu no Yoichi appeared on horseback with bow and arrow in his hands. The north wind was strong. The boat was tossing up and down. The fan painted with the golden sun at its center was fluttering on the pole.


All the Tairas in the boats and all the Minamotos on the shore were watching Yoichi. What would he do? Would he succeed?

平氏は船の中で、源氏は の上から与一を見ていた。「彼はどうするのか?」「成功するのか?」

Yoishi rode into the water as far as he could. But it was still about 70 m to the target. He closed his eyes and prayed. Then the wind fell for a moment. He shot. The arrow pierced through a little above the rivet. The fan, flying up a moment or two, came floating down, glittering in the setting sun. There was great applause from both sides.


Then a man in armor appeared in the same boat. He began to dance an elegant dance perhaps in genuine appreciation of Yoichi's archery. Then Yoichi got another order and shot down the dancing man, too.


Some said, "Good shot!" But others said, "Not fair."


The Tairas were silent this time. Was it a precursor of their demise? Two months later, the Tairas finally fell.


Shikoku-mura Museum 四国村

3 minutes' walk after leaving the bus at Toshogu-mae.(Kotoden Bus: Yashima-sanjo -- Toshogu-mae -- Chikko)

3 minutes' walk from the cable-car station.

This is an open-air museum laid out at the foot of Yashima Plateau. About 20 old rural buildings from various parts of Shikoku have been reassembled here, including a Farmers' Kabuki Theater, peasantsユ houses, a fishermanユs house, a sugar mill, a shed for steaming mulberry bark to make paper, and workshops for making soy sauce and so on. There is a replica of Kazura-bashi from Nishi Iyayama-son, too.

Open daily: 8:30 - 16:30. Admission: 500 yen


On May 5, people including children from Shodoshima Island, from which the Kabuki Theater came here, stage an annual performance of their traditional farmers' kabuki.


Takamatsu Heike Monogatari Historical Museum 高松平家物語歴史館

3 minutes' walk from Nihon Tabako-mae Bus Stop after 10 minutes' ride from JR Takamatsu.
(Kotoden Bus: Asahimachi Line)

30 minutes' walk from JR Takamatsu Station.

Japan's largest wax doll museum. The first floor is dedicated to the 41 dolls of historical figures or modern men and women of celebrity who have been closely associated with Shikoku.


The one of Kobo Daishi in his nyujo has its own corner as a special exhibition.


The other dolls include:


Yokoyama Ryuichi (cartoons: 1909- )
Sakamoto Ryoma  坂本竜馬
Nakaoka Shintaro  中岡慎太郎
Nakahama Manjiro  中浜万次郎
Wenceslau de Moraes  
Inokuma Genichiro  猪熊弦一郎
Takahama Kyoshi  高浜虚子
Ninomiya Chuhachi  二宮忠八
Setouchi Jakucho (literature: 1922- ) 瀬戸内寂聴
Makino Tomitaro  牧野富太郎
Yasuoka Shotaro (literature: 1920- ) 安岡章太郎
Kagawa Toyohiko (religion, social work, literature: 1888-1960) 賀川豊彦
Terada Torahiko (science, essay: 1878-1935) 横山隆一
Abe Yoshishige (philosophy, education: 1883-1966) 安部能成
Nambara Shigeru (philosophy, education: 1888-1974) 南原繁
Masaoka Shiki  正岡子規
Kotoku Shusui  幸徳秋水
Nakae Chomin  中江兆民
Kikuchi Kan  (literature: 1888-1948) 菊地寛
Manabe Hiroshi (illustration: 1932-) 真鍋博
Yoshida Shigeru *  吉田茂
Itagaki Taisuke  板垣退助

The second floor exhibits about 300 dolls portraying the 17 scenes from the Heike Monogatari or The Tale of the Tairas. The Saga, composed of a large number of revealing episodes, was and still is an inexhaustible source of Japanese literature and art. Some of the most famous scenes took place at the foot of Yashima Plateau at the northeastern tip of Takamatsu.


One hi-tech doll seen at the end of the exhibition is what was called biwa hoshi or a blind biwa- playing bard who traveled around chanting The Tale of the Taira Family even before it was written down in the first half of the 13th century. Its opening passage is especially famous for its Buddhist idea of impermanence that goes as follows:


The bell of Gion Mnastery tolls
The impermanence of all worldly things.
The color of sal blossoms shows the truth that
Even the most prosperous inevitably decline.
The proud will fall like a dream on a spring night.
The valiant must perish, too, as
Frail as dust blown by a puff of wind.


The doll begins to talk and sing the first line of the opening passage when it senses visitors approaching.

Open daily. Admission: 1200 yen.
(High school students: 800 yen Children: 600 yen)


* Yoshida Shigeru (1878-1967), Prime Minister from 1946 to 1954, is credited with giving Japan direction through her most difficult times after the war.

The Seto Ohashi Bridge 瀬戸大橋

The Kojima-Sakaide Route, popularly known as the Seto Ohashi Bridge, was completed in 1988. It is the world's longest two-tiered bridge system, stretching 13. 1 km from Kojima to Sakaide, connecting the 5 island in between.


The 11 bridges in the system include 3 suspension bridges, 2 twin cable-stayed, 1 truss and 5 viaducts.The upper level accommodates a motor expressway of four lanes, and the lower contains Japan Railway's system for a dual track ordinary line at present and for a dual track superexpress line in the future.


The first person to air the idea of the Seto Ohashi Bridge was Okubo Jinnojo, a kagawa native, who at that time was constructing the first Shikoku Roads to link all the prefectures on the island. In 1889 Jinnojo disclosed his dream in a congratulatory speech he made as a member of the Prefectural Parliament at the opening ceremony of the first railroad in Shikoku between Marugame and Kotohira.


Exactly a century later, the Bridge came into being after decades of planning and ten years of construction, 13 million workers involved (with the loss of 17 lives), and costing 1,190,000 million yen.


Surprisingly, Jinnojo had also foretold man's traveling to the moon in his favorite drinking song of his own making, which went as follows:


I'll tell you, dear,
don't laugh at me,
a hundred years from now,
I'll be seeing you flying
to and from the moon in a apace ship.
Its port, let me tell you, dear, will be
that mountaintop over there!


One of the best points to view the Bridge is Yoshima Island, a central pier of the Bridge. It also serves as a sight seeing outpost for the Shikoku and Inland Sea Districts, providing 2 parking areas for those who like to enjoy bridge-viewing, seafood and shopping.


To Yoshima: 20 minutes from JR Sakaide by Seto Ohashi Express Bus.

Another is a rotating tower 132 m tall at the Seto Ohashi Memorial Park at the foot of the Bridge in Sakaide. The Memorial Hal provides all kinds of information on the Bridge and its construction, while the park itself applies modern art to stone and water.

Admission to the tower: 800 yen
Admission to the Hall: 510 yen


To the Seto Ohashi Memorial Park: 10 minutes from JR Sakaide by shuttle bus (free of charge).

The Gold Tower near JR Utazu Station offers a marvelous view, too. The 144 m tower made of half-mirror glass is the tallest of its kind in Japan, housing the Sky Lounge, restaurants, stores and a World Toilet Museum.


Open daily. Admission to the tower: 800 yen / 1000 yen (Toilet Museum included).
To Gold Tower: 8 minutes' walk from JR Utazu.

Bridge-viewing cruises are available from Keihan Fisherman's Wharf on Yoshima, Memorial Park and Sakaide Port. (1000 yen-1500 yen)

Marugame City 丸亀市

-- Castle & uchiwa 城とうちわ --

25 minutes' train ride from JR Takamatsu.

To the Castle: 15 minutes' walk from JR Marugame.

The three-storied donjon on top of a green hill crowns the city of Marugame. When a Marugame Province of 53,000 koku was formed in 1641, an old castle was reconstructed and the castle seen today dates back to 1660, one of the few fgenuine Edo Period castles remaining in Japan.


The present-day Marugame is famous for uchiwa or round paper fan manufacturing, producing about 90% of these fans in Japan.


The Castle Park, 15 minutes' walk from JR Marugame, is surrounded by moats, featuring the donjon, a couple of main gates (all Important Cultural Properties)and walls from the 17th century. The 4-level 60 m ramparts, the tallest and among the most beautiful in Japan, also contribute to the beauty of the castle.


O-shiro Matsuri Castle Festival is held on the 3rd weekend in May.


The Inokuma Genichiro Modern Art Museum adjacent to JR Marugame Station is dedicated to Inokuma Genichiro (1902 - 93).


Banshoen Garden built in 1688 as a villa for the Lord of the Province is 10 minutes' drive from downtown Marugame. One of the galleries there houses Chinese ceramic ware and a collection of Iranian earthenware and glassware dating back to 2500 B.C. through the 1200's A.D. Open daily.


Admission to the Garden & Galleries: 1000 yen
(Students: 600 yen, Children: 400 yen)

10 minutes' walk from Nakazu-bashi Bus Stop after 10 minutes' ride from Marugame Toricho near the castle. (Kotosan Bus for Zentsuji via Tadotsu)

Zentsu-ji Temple 善通寺

-- the Birthplace of Kobo Daishi 弘法大師縁の地 --

[From JR Kotohira] 5 minutes to JR Zentsuji by ordinary train.

[From JR Takamatsu] 40 minutes to JR Zentsuji by express train (Dosan Line).

25 minutes' walk from JR Zentsuji along the street in front of the station.

Zentsu-ji Temple, is known as the birthplace of Kobo daishi Kukai. Kukai is one of the greatest geniuses Japan has ever produced. He made a great contribution in remolding Japanese religion, while making unparalleled achievements as a scholar, poet, artist, calligrapher, sculptor, architect, educator, social worker, inventor, discoverer and civil engineer.


The giant vamphor trees near the five- storied pagoda in the East Precinct are said to have already been several hundred years old when Kukai was born in 774. The Mieido Hall in the West Precinct at the foot of the green hill is the Birthplace.


Visitors may traverse the basement of the hall along a pitch-dark path. This introspective journey is called kaidan-meguri. The entrance is at the right-hand corner of the Hall. The entrance fee includes the admission to the Museum.( 300 yen)


The utter blackness along the path symbolizes the darkness of the human mind or human ignorance of the Truth. The notice says: "Go along with the palm of your left hand pressed against the left-hand wall. The wall, painted with mandalas, angels and lotus flowers, is the Buddha's Way. You will be safely guided as long as you are on His Way."


After the Kaidan-meguri, arrows guide you to the Museum. The temple treasures exhibited there include a small clay pagoda Kukai molded at 7, a bowl used by Kukai as a mendicant priest, a robe and a ritual stick (a National Treasure) of Indian make, both presented to Kukai by his Chinese master Abbot Hui-kuo, and a sutra scroll (a National Treasure) with each of the Chinese characters accompanied by a little Bodhisattva on a lotus pedestal; Kukai did the calligraphy, his mother the painting.


Shorinji Kempo 少林寺拳法

-- an art of self-defence --

Shorinji Kempo is not merely a sport or martial art, but a religious exercise to approach the Buddha's spirit in the principles of "self - realization" and "help each other."


It was started by So Doshin (1911-1980) in 1947. Two years before he had been repatriated from Manchuria, the northeastern part of China that "Imperialist Japan" held for 13 years till the end of World War ・. Doshin had seen how people could be dehumanized in the dire extremities of war and its aftermath. "Developing good humanity is the only way to save Japan and the world at large," he kept saying to himself. Doshin, who had learned various martial arts is China, pondered over the Zen philosophy of Bodhidharma, trying to restore the martial art that Bodhidharma himself was said to have practiced about 1,500 years ago when he brought Zenfrom India to China.


Finally, Doshin succeeded in restoring and reorganizing the whole body of that art, which he named Shorinji kempo. Now its Headquarters has more than 100 branches in 23 countries in the world.

The Shorinji Kempo Headquarters (0877) 33 - 1010 is on the southern slope of Tryo Koen Park Hill 15 minutesユ walk from JR Tadotsu Station.

The Bodhidharma Festival is held on the 1st Sunday in October.


Kotohira-gu Shrine 金刀比羅宮

-- the mecca of Kompira worshippers --

[From JR Takamatsu to JR Kotohira]
60 minutes by shuttle train (Dosan Line).

[From Takamatsu Chikko]
70 minutes' tram ride by special express.

[From JR Okayama]
67 minutes' train ride by special express.
2 hours to Kotoden Kotohira Station by Seto Ohashi Kosoku Bus.

Especially Noted Product: Ittobori woodcarving.

Kotohira-gu , a great shrine complex, often affectionately called Kompira-san, has been a celebrated destination for pilgrims and tourists for hundreds of years.


According to legend, Kompira-san came into being when Kumbhira --- a guardian god of Buddhism, originally a Hindu crocodile god of the Ganges, was beckoned by a Buddhist priest of Matsuo-ji, a thousand-year-ole temple in this neighborhood.


But the temple remained a Shinto shrine in part, with Omononushi-no-mikoto, the native god of fertility, medicine and commerce also summoned from the mythological land of Izumo *. Omononushi-no-mikoto, along with Daikoku-ten representing Chinese folk religion, were then identified with the Indian god Kumbhira (Kompira), a case of religious internationalism in classical Japan.


In 1868 Buddhism and Shintoism were separated by law, and Omononushi became the chief god along with the deified Emperor Sutoku who had been enshrined here in the 15th century. Yet "Kompira Worship" continued to flourish, for the Hindu deity had already enshrined himself deep in the hearts of the Japanese people.


There are 785 stone steps to climb before one reaches the Main Shrine. Fortunately its route consists first of a colorful street of souvenir shops and then of a quiet promenade lined with gardens, shrines and museums. The numberless granite lanterns. fences and tablets bordering the approach were all dedicated by Kompira worshippers nationwide, as were the stone steps themselves.


Many of the shrine treasures in the Homotsukan Museum, the Gakugeikan Museum, Omote-shoin and Oku-shoin Art Museum were offered by famous artists, poets, lords of Provinces and characters of historical renown. In the 17th century the Tokugawa Shogun, too, dedicated a stipend of 330 koku to the shrine, augmenting its prosperity.
Asahi-no-yashiro Shrine in the Buddhist style is the former Main Hall. The present Main Hall is a few more flights of stone steps above.


Emado Hall near the Main Shrine is a gallery for votive tablets and offerings mainly from seamen. In March 1889 there was offered a photograph of the Brooklyn Bridge in New York --- the Eighth Wonder of the World at that time --- dedicated by a Japanese acrobatic troupe that had completed a tour around the U.S.A. So it is thought that Okubo Jinnojo, seeing the photograph here, was inspired to envision the Seto Ohashi Bridge that he proposed in May that same year.


About an hour's walk to Okusha or the Inner Sanctuary further along the path through primeval forest is enjoyable to nature-lovers, though one has to climb 583 more stone steps.


On the night of October 10, a grand procession starts at the Main Hall at 9 p.m., slowly marching down the 785 stone steps into the downtown streets as far as O-tabisho, the Sacred Destination This is the highlight of the 3-day Grand Festival of this time-honored shrine.

* Izumo: An ancient city in Shimane Pref. on the Japan Sea; one of the political and religious centers during the mythological age.

Kompira Oshibai Kabuki Theater 金毘羅大芝居

At the foot of the mountain there stands Kompira Oshibai Kabuki Theater, the oldest Kabuki Theater remaining in Japan. A guide shows visitors around the building including the primitive but ingenious device to operate the rotating stage.


Open daily except Tuesdays.
Admission: About 300 yen

In Kabuki Season in mid-April or May, first-class Kabuki actors are invited from Tokyo or Osaka to perform under almost the same conditions as their ancestors did in the 17th through 19th centuries.


For further information about the dates and tickets call the office of JR Shikoku in Takamatsu: (0878) 23-0973

問い合わせはJR四国高松駅へ。TEL (0878)23-0973

Kotohiki Koen Park 琴弾公園

Kotohiki Koen Park features a pine-wooded sand beach and a shady hill with the ancient shrine Kotohiki Hachiman-gu at the top and two of the 88 Temples --- Jinne-in and Kannon-ji --- at the foot.


One should not miss the Zenigata huge coin known as Kan-ei-tsuho carved about 2 m deep in the white sand. It is best viewed from a hilltop observatory behind the Hachiman-gu Shrine. Its broad rim looks completely circular from there, but in reality it is elliptic (112m * 90m) with a circumference of 345 m. When and how it came into being is a mystery, providing a subject for endless debate among local people.


Shodoshima Island 小豆島

[From Takamatsu Port]
35 minutes by speedboat to Tonosho Port.

Especially Noted Products: olives, olive goods, soy sauce and somen noodles.

Shodoshima Island is the second largest island in the Seto Inland Sea. It is nicknamed "Olive Island" as olive saplings were successfully transplanted in 1908 from Greece to the soil of this island of all places in Japan.


In spring and autumn a great number of pilgrims arrive here to make a tour around the 88 Sacred Places of this island. For further information, call the Shodoshima Reijo-kai (0879) 62-0227


In summer, Futagoura Beach Silver Beach and many other beaches are favored by sunbathers, swimmers, campers, wind-surfers and water-skiers.


To Futagoura Beach: 10 minutes' bus ride from Tonosho Port to Futagoura Bus Stop
Annual sports events that attract a large number of participants are as follows:

Olive Half- Marathon 4th Sunday in May
Triathlon early in September
Turtle Full-Marathon Last Sunday in November
To apply, call (0879) 82-4834

Rental cycles are available at the ports of Tonosho and Sakate.(About 1000 yen-1300 yen a day)

Tonosho Port provides a starting point for all the sightseeing routes on this island. The local bus services are not frequent, but the sightseeing buses cover the main spots of the island in 4 to 7 hours. Among the 3 courses offered, the C course (About 3800 yen, excluding lunch and admission fees) is the most recommendable.


It takes 5 and a half hours, beginning with Choshikei Ravine and its Monkey Reserve, followed by Kankakei Ravine, a National Scenic Spot, known for its autumnal tints in November, Taiyo-no-oka Highland, Nijushi no Hitomi Movie Village and the Peacock Garden.


The C course bus tour departs from Tonosho Port at 9:40 and 11:40.

The bronze statues of "People in Peace" (above) in the Tonosho Port plaza are emblematic to the local people who often call their home "Isle of Peace" or "Olive Island".


The statues depict a scene from the story of Nijushi no Hitomi (Twenty-four Eyes), written in 1952 by Tsuboi Sakae, a woman writer born on this island. When filmed 2 years later by Kinoshita Keisuke, a leading director, it created a sensation throughout the country. In 1987, it was filmed for the second school building was preserved as Nijushi no Hitomi Movie Village. In a cottage near the entrance, the latter film is shown on video.


The story begins in 1928, when a dozen children formed a small class in a tiny branch school to spend the happiest months of there lives with there woman teacher Oishi sensei. But the 20 years that followed saw the children growing into men and women more or less affected by war, even killed or crippled.
Clearly the author's heart was filled with pity for the miseries of war and for human helplessness against war, which captured the post-war mood and the continuing desire for peace.


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Updated on 22 October 2016 by Steve McCarty (publications)