Takamatsu is on Shikoku, the smallest of Japan’s four main islands. It may be smaller, but it’s packed full of beauty, history, and charm. It’s slightly off the main path, but it’s very easy to get there and close to major cities on the ‘mainland’
10 Things to Do with Kids in Takamatsu, Japan
1. Ritsurin Garden – This Japanese garden is one of my favourites! The winding paths and integration of the surrounding hills are beautiful. Escape the city buzz and relax a little to recharge your batteries.
2. Cross an Iya Valley Vine Bridge – Are you brave enough to cross a traditional vine bridge that is rebuilt every 3 years? It’s 14 meters above the river below, spanning 45m across the gorge. It’s terrifying but exhilarating once you safely reach the other side!
3. Megi-jima – Visit Demon Island and take a tour through the cave and learn about the legend of Momotaro, a small boy who fought the ogres.
4. Naruto Whirlpools – As the tide turns each day you can see whirlpools appear in the water out of nowhere, and disappear just as fast. See them by walking below the bridge through a glass floor or take a boat trip out to see them up close.
5. Mt. Bizan – Take a cable car up to the top of Mr. Bizan for a scenic view of Tokushima below. In the Awa Odori Kaikan centre you can learn about the area’s dance and pottery specialties.
6. Takamatsu Tamamo breakwater lighthouse – This red-lit lighthouse is unique and the area has a great atmosphere. Watch the sun go down as the red glass bricks of the base light up!
7. Tamamo Park – The ruins of Takamatsu castle have been rebuilt. It is known as only 1 of 3 castles in Japan with salt water moats. The grounds around this castle are well kept and gorgeous in the spring when during cherry blossom viewing time.
8. Shikoku Mura – If you don’t make it down to the Iya Valley, you can cross a mini-version of a vine rope bridge at this open-air museum. You can see the structure of the traditional buildings of Shikoku Island, and learn how soya sauce is made. Take your time and enjoy the views from this hillside village.
9. Take a sightseeing boat along the Oboke Gorge – See the smooth-rocked canyon walls above and the clear, fresh water below as you float through the gorge. Keep your eyes open for the rock that looks like a lion! Enjoy a typically Japanese meal in the Lapis Oboke restaurant when you’ve returned.
10. Gokasho Mairi – If you don’t have the time and patience to make the full 88 Buddhist Temple circuit, then you can opt for this one-day round and join the masses of pilgrims in white.
I loved to visit this area for a little R&R and to reconnect with the beauty and wonder of nature. It has a slower pace which allows you to reflect on your past adventures and recharge for your next.