Known locally as the birthplace of udon noodles, Kagawa Prefecture is the smallest prefecture in Japan. Its capital city, Takamatsu, is blessed with numerous art spots that attract visitors who appreciate both traditional and modern arts. We’ve put together this list of places you should check out while visiting this beautiful port city, so read on and start planning your trip.
Occupying several 100-year-old warehouses, Kitahama Alley is a multi-purpose commercial complex that includes art galleries, restaurants, cafes and local creators' stores. This hip complex is located near Takamatsu Port, so you can feel the fresh sea breeze while strolling from spot to spot.
The first thing that might catch your attention is the dynamic installation made using 6,000 bamboo frames. These hand-woven frames were sourced from traditional paper fans, known as Marugame Uchiwa, and this installation illustrates a series of small waves.
Cantina is a cozy cafe facing the beautiful Seto Inland Sea. On sunny days, you can sit outside and sip a cup of good coffee here while at night, the cafe turns into a bar. Small pets are also allowed here, so you might see cute dogs chilling around the terrace seating.
- Cantina カンティーナ
- 香川県高松市北浜町3-2 北浜alley
Book Marute is a small bookstore that focuses on photo books, art books and charming knickknacks. This lovely shop also features a small cafe space and an art gallery.
Umie is a chic cafe restaurant that was converted from one of the warehouse’s former meeting rooms. Its rustic atmosphere is enhanced with re-purposed furniture, a naked ceiling, and large windows that command an ocean view, resulting in a stylish yet warm aesthetic.
Kitahama blue stories
Those who have a soft spot for unique, handcrafted goods should make a stop at Kitahama Blue Stories. This charming store is divided into 10 booths, each of which showcases an eclectic range of local crafts.
The design agency IKUNAS's booth features local food and unconventional traditional crafts, with its collections occasionally rotating. You can find sanuki temari (Japanese handballs) that have been carefully woven with colorful cotton strings, as well as hair ties featuring miniature temari that are perfect gifts for the home.
Kagawa Lacquerware comes in a range of forms and colors, and you can find vividly colored tableware to brighten up your dining table. The lacquerware coating gains additional charm over time.
This store also stocks creative items inspired by the beautiful Seto Inland Sea and its surrounding scenery. A ferry-shaped hair clip represents the famous Meon ferry that connects the local islands and will add a cute accent to your hairstyle. Azeya Herb Tea is a combination of nine herbs that are grown organically in Takamatsu, including rosemary, lavender, lemongrass, and sweet basil.
AZEYA HARB TEA
Wasanbon is a finely graded traditional Japanese sugar that is mainly produced in the Shikoku region. If you want to give this local sugar a try, you can find variously shaped higasi, a dry candy often served with green tea. You can even find coffee-bean-shaped higashi, which undoubtedly goes well with a cup of coffee.
Blue Original Wasanbon set 1,100yen（tax included）
coffee sanbo(mix) 648yen（tax included）
If you want to enjoy afternoon tea in a thriving space where Kagawa's fine arts and traditional crafts meet, Salon Blue is the place to be. From the chandelier made using paper fans to a barrel-shaped bar counter, you can find all sorts of artistic decor that originated in Kagawa. Interior design lovers will feel particularly elated to find the AKARI lighting series by Isamu Noguchi and rattan chairs by Isamu Kenmochi.
Setouchi Tea Soda is made with a variety of local citrus fruits and provides a refreshing sweetness. This cafe also offers meals such as pizza, salad and bagna cauda made with fresh vegetables sourced from local farmers.
Setouchi Tea Soda770 yen (tax included)
- 香川県高松市北浜町5-5 大運組ビル5F
Artistic hotspot in the Shikoku region
Takamatsu serves as a transportation hub for the Setouchi Triennale art festival, which takes place across the local islands of Shodoshima, Ogishima, and Naoshima. These islands are also home to several art spots, so you can include them in your travel itinerary and fully embrace the charm of Kagawa Prefecture.