Kotohira Shrine – Kagawa | Travel Information

Entrance to Kotohira Shrine

Are you feeling lethargic after your long train-ride over to Shikoku? Want to get out and do a bit of exercise before you catch the limited express to Kochi? Then Kotohira shrine is the place for you. Standing at 521 meters, about halfway to the top of Mt. Zozu where the shrine is located this venerable gem has no less than 1368 stairs from the bottom to the inner shrine right at the top. However if you don’t quite feel cut out to climb quite that far, a mere 785 stairs will carry you to the main worship area, about half way up.

Founded supposedly in the 1st century AD, Kotohira is one of the more important shrines in Shintoism and is said to host the spirit of Sutoku-Tenno, one of the emperors of the Heian period (circa 795AD-1185AD) Kotohira is a truly expansive shrine that contains numerous large scale buildings including a former Buddhist temple of considerable size. Kotohira is a shrine dedicated to sea travel and sailors, as such, a large solar powered sail boat is on display  near the main shrine.

There is a viewing deck at the main shrine which has almost unparalleled views of what seems like the entire of Kagawa prefecture, however to really see the landscape in all its glory, the view from the inner shrine is absolutely spectacular.

Finally, after experiencing all there was to see, why not have a look at the many, many souvenir shops, eateries and museums located on the main street heading towards the shrine. Many of the shops are very good value for money and have everything from wooden swords to very nice quality paper fans. (I bought both)

Accessing Kotohira Shrine

Kotohira shrine’s entrance is a short 10-15 minute walk from Kotohira station which itself is one of the main stops for the Kochi limited express and can be accessed easily from the Tadotsu station after arriving in Shikoku from Okayama. Please note that if you are traveling by ICOCA, your ICOCA card will not function in Shikoku, you will need to buy train tickets at the machine.

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Job Dyer

Job Dyer

Job joined the team in February of 2019 as our Research Specialist & Field Operative. He is based around West Japan in Hiroshima Prefecture, and travels all around his region exploring all the top destinations for your entertainment and information.

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