In March 2019, I went to Japan again. Me and my Japanese friend decided to go on a two night trip to the island of Shikoku. Shikoku is located south of the main island of Japan and north east of Kyushu. It is a mountainous, relatively rural island, and it consists of four prefectures: Ehime, Kōchi, Tokushima, and Kagawa. It was to the city of Takamatsu in Kagawa prefecture that we set our destination.
On this trip I only had my digital camera, the Fuji X100s. I kind of regret it now, because post processing digital photos is horrible pain.
On our way to Takamatsu from Kyoto, we had to switch trains in Okayama (still on the main island of Japan). While in Okayama we took the time to make a short trip to the historical town of Kurashiki. It has a rich history of art, among other things, and has a whole street dedicated to denim products. We strolled around for a few hours before taking the Marine Liner to Takamatsu, and I enjoyed one of the best coffee I have had, prepared by siphon, at a local coffee shop.
The peaceful island of Shodoshima
The main event was to go by ferry to another island called Shodoshima, outside Takamatsu. It’s smaller, and even more rural, and had quite a few interesting sights.
After much effort and thanks to the friendly rental car staff , we managed to get a rental car (we had not booked one in advance, mistakenly thinking that there would be no tourists other than us on this island). This was my first time driving a car in Japan, as my friend refused to drive when she heard the rental car guy talk about accidents and fees. It took some getting used to as in Japan, you drive on the left side, opposite of Sweden. After a few times using the windshield wiper indicating that I was about to make a turn, it was alright. In fact, Shodoshima was the perfect learning spot as traffic was low and the villages really small.
It was a tranquil and wonderful experience, and the pace was quite the opposite of modern day Kyoto, which is getting overrun by more tourists every year.
A half day in Kotohira
At the day of our return we did a half day trip to Kotohira, also in Kagawa prefecture. We took the lovely Kotoden train line, which gave us a great view of Shikoku country side, at a leisurely pace. As you probably know now, I have grown to become a serious train buff, so the train ride was a treat in itself.
Our destination was Konpira-san, a Shinto shrine dedicated to sea transport and sailors, which is located on Mount Zozu. It is accessible by foot on a 785 step steep staircase. It was quite the exercise, and there were even carrier taxis available, should you not be up to the task. After returning home to Sweden I have learned that there is another 600 steps to the inner shrine, making a total of 1368 steps.