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Population (approx.): 1.006 million (2012)
Area: 719 sq miles
Area Rank: 47
Capital of Kagawa Prefecture; home to Ritsurin-koen, Japan's largest garden
Famous for Kompirasan, Shikoku's most popular shrine
Kagawa Prefecture is located in the Shikoku region and is the smallest prefecture in Japan. In its capital Takamatsu City is Ritsurin Koen, a beautiful landscape garden. The garden was built by the local feudal lords during the early Edo Period and features ponds, historic trees, Japanese trees, and hills. The highlight feature of the garden are the beautiful pavilions that are divided into different style gardens, with the north featuring a Western style garden and the south a Japanese style garden. Shikoku’s most popular shrine Kompirasan is located in Kotohira, a small town in Kagawa. The shrine is dedicated to sailors and seafaring. To reach Kompirasan, one must walk up 1,368 stone steps, making it one of the hardest shrines to reach. Although Kompirasan was declared a shrine when Shintoism and Buddhism were separated, elements from both religions can still be seen in the architecture of the shrine.
Narrow sandbar popular among couples
One of the best gardens in Japan
One of twelve original castles; popular cherry blossom spot
84th of 88 temples of Shikoku PIlgrimage
Olive grove on Shodoshima where olives were first cultivated
Oldest kabuki theater in Japan
Kagawa’s signature dish is the Sanuki Udon, well known throughout Japan. Sanuki was Kagawa Prefecture's former name. In Sanuki Udon, al dente udon noodles are served in a light brown broth made from light soy sauce. Sanuki Udon can be enjoyed both cold with a dipping sauce or warm in a broth. Of the many kinds of udon, Sanuki Udon is one of the most popular types and can be found throughout most of Japan.
Marugame Uchiwa are rounded paper fans that originated in the city of Marugame in Kagawa. Marugame accounts for approximately 90% of the country's uchiwa production. Marugame Uchiwa is made from bamboo and paper to create a self fanning tool. It is said that uchiwa production was a a popular side job for lower income samurais who needed additional income in the 19th century. Since then, uchiwas have continued to stay in use and the Marugame Uchiwa was designated as a traditional craft of Kagawa Prefecture in 1997.
Island of Contemporary Art Museums
Hyoge Festival is an annual festival held on the second Sunday of September in honor of samurai Heiroku Yanobe. Yanobe was an ordinary samurai but made in change in Kagawa when he constructed the Shin-ike pond and resolved water problems of the city. The celebration is also to give thanks to the good harvest they were able to have that year due to their sufficient water levels. Hyoge Festival involves a march by men wearing samurai costumes carrying mikoshi (portable shrines) with their faces painted in red and blue paint. The face paint most likely derives from the fact that "hyogeru" means to crack jokes and play the fool.