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Takamatsu, a city of art facing a jewel of the world: the Seto


Art Setouchi in Megijima 1

2010.08.10 by Cathy Hirano
The Setouchi International Art Festival is now well underway and I have been to several islands since it started. One of those was Megijima, the closest of the 7 art islands to Takamatsu. Japan-guide gives a good overview of the festival at http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5410.html, including Megijima at http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5412.html. So in this post I'll try to provide extra details that could be helpful in getting around the island. I'll follow with a post on tips for visiting the art sites in Megijima and glimpses of a few sites.

Island Logistics
Megijima is less than 20 minutes away from Takamatsu port by ferry. The island's fishing village is very picturesque with high stonewalls called "?te" that protect it from winter gales. A beautiful sandy beach lies barely 5-minutes walk from the port and it has a large pine grove nearby with welcome shade. I really enjoyed just strolling down the village streets and along the beach, taking in the scenery and chatting with the occasional villager. Like all the islands, the population is decreasing and aging, with 60% of its 199 residents over 65 years of age. The nursery school closed over 8 years ago and the elementary school over 5 years ago when the last students graduated. In July and August, however, the population swells with swimmers, sunbathers, fishermen and campers. The beach is really nice so consider taking swimsuits, etc. (Swimming season lasts to the end of August when stinging jellyfish start floating in.)

Megijima Beach

The Ogres' Cave near the top of the high hill above the beach is a popular sightseeing spot. Admission normally costs JPY 500 for adults (seniors JPY 450, JPY 250 or less for children depending on their age) but with a festival passport you can get in for only JPY 200. It's quite impressive for a manmade cave (400 meters deep with more than 10 chambers and covering an area of 4000 square meters) and was reportedly carved out by pirates centuries ago. The bus up to the cave is conveniently timed to coincide with ferry arrivals so if you want to see the cave, the lookout point or even just the 2 art sites at the cave entrance, take the bus when you arrive (Adult JPY 300 1-way; Children 2 years and up JPY 150 1-way). You can catch the bus from behind the Oni no Yakata information center at the port.

The Ogre'sCave

Oni no Yakata Information Center:Open 9:00 to 21:00 during the Art Festival. Stop here first if you need any information, etc. It was well staffed when I went. They have art festival passports, tickets for the bus as well as for individual art sites and events, maps with some English, rent-a-cycles (regular: JPY 200; mountain bike: JPY 300; moped: JPY 500), flush toilets, drink machines and a simple cafeteria (open 11:00 ? 15:00).

Oni no Yakata Information Cwnter

Fireworks August 13:Megijima is reportedly a great place to watch the annual Takamatsu Summer Festival Fireworks display. The last ferry is at 21:00 but if it's crowded, they will add an extra ferry.

Food and Drink
Oni no Yakata:11:00-15:00; light meals such as noodles (JPY 350 and up) and beverages. Usually closed on Tuesdays but open 7 days/week during the festival. (Closed January through February.)

IARA (Leandro Erlich Site #38): 11:00-20:30 Lunch: cheese panini (JPY700), beef curry (JPY 900), paella or pasta (JPY 1,200), sweets, beverages. (The curry was good.) Dinner: full course JPY 3,200


Fukutake House:
One of the art installations is also a cafe. JPY 500/drink.

Beachside Stalls: Open till about the end of August. Regular fare like noodles fried, cold or in soup, with prices from JPY 400 and up as well as ice cream, drinks, etc.

Camping: There are campgrounds in the pine grove right by the beach (150 meters from the port). You must bring your own tent and gear but it's only JPY 200/adult and JPY 100/child. The site is run by the Seniors' Association. Usually the people in charge are sitting under the pine trees but if you don't see them, set up anywhere under the pines and they will come around later to take the fee. The prefectural campsite at the far end of the island is free. (Contact: 087-873-0402; Japanese only.)

Ferry Schedule: http://setouchi-artfest.jp/en/access/islands/#r9(Or under Access at the English Art Setouchi site: http://setouchi-artfest.jp/en/ )

Fares: Adults JPY 200 1-way; Children JPY 100 1-way. These are special art festival rates. Try to get there at least 20 minutes before your ferry in summer and on weekends because the line up for tickets is quite long. The day I went, they had set up a table outside to sell tickets in addition to the ticket office.

Pier and Ticket Office: Located directly across the intersection from Tamamo Park and the ANA Clement Hotel behind the small brick ferry terminal. The tickets are sold from a window around the back of the terminal facing the piers. The map below is courtesy of the Takamatsu International Association. (I don't think the pier is called 1st Pier but you can see where the ticket office is.)

This blog's writer

Cathy Hirano

I've lived in Japan since 1978. After graduating from a Japanese university with a BA in cultural anthropology in 1983, I worked as a translator in a Japanese consulting engineering firm in Tokyo for several years. My Japanese husband and I moved to Takamatsu in 1987 to raise our two children in a slower-paced environment away from the big city pressures. We've never regretted it. I work as a freelance translator and interpreter and am involved in a lot of community work, including volunteering for Second Hand, a local NGO that supports educational and vocational training initiatives in Cambodia, and for the Takamatsu International Association. I love living in Takamatsu.

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