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KOTOHIRA, Kagawa Pref. — In order to visit the 3,000-year-old Kompira Shrine, which still attracts millions of pilgrims and tourists here each year, a long, steep slope of 1,368 stone steps must first be conquered.

But the weary or the lazy can be carried on a palanquin midway up the slope, past the most difficult part of the mountain, for just 5,000 yen.

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