The capital of Japan’s smallest prefecture, Takamatsu is a bustling port city once controlled by the Matsudaira Clan. It’s home to the magnificent Ritsurin Koen gardens and an open-air architectural museum, as well as the former home and workshop of one of Japan’s most celebrated artists.
Things to do
Spend an afternoon strolling through Ritsurin Koen, arguably one of the most beautiful traditional gardens in Japan. Historic trees, ornate pavilions and tranquil ponds surround its pathways, with the wooded slopes of Mount Shiun providing a stunning backdrop.
A short boat ride from Takamatsu takes you to the scenic island of Ogijima and its charming harbour village. Visit the Toyotamahime Shrine, which watches over the village, and follow the walking trail that weaves through its forested interior, then soak up the views from the lighthouse that commands Ogijima’s north.
Interested in Shikoku’s traditional architecture? Head to the open-air museum at Shikoku Mura where buildings and structures from across the island have been relocated. Meiji-era farmhouses and workshops stand alongside a traditional kabuki theatre, as well as a vine suspension bridge representing those of the lush Iya Valley.
Artists and architects should visit the former studio of Isamu Noguchi in the small town of Mure. Guided tours include a visit to his Edo Period workshop and the merchant residence where he lived and give you time to explore the impressive stone sculptures in the yard outside.
Takamatsu Airport is around 40 minutes’ drive from Takamatsu’s city centre or it takes around 4.5 hours if coming by train from Tokyo. Trains access most corners of Takamatsu, but it’s also an easy destination to explore on foot.