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



2014.05.30 by Cathy Hirano
April and May are perfect months for getting outdoors in Takamatsu and that's just what we did. During cherry blossom season, we dropped into Busshozan Park to join many others picnicking under the trees. There were families as well as large groups, some of whom were on an outing from a seniors' home, but there was plenty of space for all.

Busshozan Park is extensive with a gym, a swimming pool, playground equipment, and plenty of lawn space for playing Frisbee, badminton, tag or whatever else kids and adults like to play outside.

It's also right on an ancient irrigation pond. Kagawa has the lowest rainfall in Japan, so water scarcity was a major problem until recent times. Kobo Daishi (774-835), the great scholar and monk who established the Shingon sect of Buddhism and the 88-temple pilgrimage route that goes around the island of Shikoku, also introduced superior engineering for ponds in the prefecture, although I'm not sure about this one in particular.

This year, 2014, marks the 1200th anniversary of the founding of this pilgrimage route and there will be many special events at the different temples throughout the year. Hopefully I'll be able to cover some of those events as well.

But back to Busshozan, where the blossoms were splendid.

Cherry trees go right up the sides of the hill through the graveyard of the neighboring temple.

That temple would be Honenji, which I've covered before (see http://cathy.ashita-sanuki.jp/d2012-11-02.html) and is well worth a visit. When we went, they were holding their regular flower market as well as selling udon noodles and cookies made by residents of the temple's facility for people with disabilities.

It was recently discovered that the park lies on top of the Takamatsu crater, which measures 4 km in diameter and 2 km deep. Boring samples indicate that it was probably caused by a meteorite impact. As a result, Busshozan has one of the best natural hotsprings in Shikoku. If you're going to the park to play sports, I recommend dropping into the Busshozan Onsen hot spring bath on your way home for a relaxing soak.

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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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