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Takamatsu has gained recognition in the last half-century for its specialty Sanuki udon and the incredible gardens of Ritsurin Koen. In the process, the city has quietly become the go-to destination for travelers starting their exploration of the island of Shikoku. As the closest port to Honshu, the castle town flourished under the daimyo of the Edo Period (1603-1868), and has a long history of maritime trading. Today, the town is a city, and is the business capital of Shikoku and the heart of Kagawa Prefecture, with plenty to offer any traveler who steps onto its streets.

Whether it’s by direct bus from Takamatsu Airport or a short train journey from the center, the first stop on anyone’s list is usually Ritsurin Gardens. Famed for its “borrowed scenery” of forest-cloaked mountains and calm boat rides across shimmering lakes, the gardens are known as a place of carefully constructed serenity.

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