Marugame Castle is at the heart of the city, perched high on a hilltop overlooking this comfortable metropolis. Easily accessible on foot from Marugame Station, it is a great place for a stroll and a bit of exercise.
The castle is one of the few in Japan where you can understand the meaning of the term “castle town” because the surrounding area wraps around it like the pieces of a puzzle.
While it is normally referred to as Marugame Castle, it is perhaps best considered a castle ruin. This is because all that remains of this 16th-century structure represents one of its towers, part of the moat, and two gates.
The main castle structure succumbed to the dual calamities of fire and the castle dismantling policy of the Meiji era.
Today Marugame Castle and its surrounding park is a gathering place for tourists and locals. There are regular events held there throughout the year. For example, there is the Cherry Blossom Festival in April and the chrysanthemum exhibition in the fall.
The real payoff of visiting the castle is making it up to the hilltop plateau and taking in the marvelous panorama of Marugame City. It is absolutely the best place from which to view the iconic Mt. Iino.
Anyone will tell you that no visit to Kagawa is complete without a bowl of udon noodles, so after your castle visit, stop by one of the many shops near Marugame Station.
Access: Take the Marine Liner from JR Okayama Station to JR Marugame Station. Marugame Castle is about a 10-15 minute walk from JR Marugame Station.
About the Area
Kagawa Prefecture is often referred to as the gateway to Shikoku because it hosts one of the footholds of the Seto Ohashi Bridge in Sakaide City. The bridge, which is the longest in the world to carry both passenger cars and trains, stretches across the Seto Inland Sea like a dragon in flight before touching down in Shikoku.
The capital of the prefecture and the largest city in all of Shikoku is lovely seaside Takamatsu City. It is a castle town which is famous for its port area and long shopping arcade.
Marugame City, like neighboring Takamatsu City is a renowned for its castle. However, as Marugame Castle rests at a high elevation, it commands an impressive view of the region. From the castle, there are panoramas of the cityscape, Mt. Iino (Sanuki Fuji) and the Seto Inland Sea.
Kagawa Prefecture is a champion of the arts and plays a large role in the Setouchi Triennale Art Festival, which as its name suggests, takes place every three years. There are art installations and museums throughout the prefecture.
The beating heart of the art scene in Kagawa is on several of its islands, namely, Shodoshima and Naoshima. There you will find an intriguing world dedicated to beauty and creativity.
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