One part of Takamatsu that's always fun to visit is Busshozan, due south of the city center. This area prospered from the mid-seventeenth century when the ruler established his family temple there. Known as Honenji, that temple alone is well worth a visit (see http://www.art-takamatsu.com/blog/2012/11/honenji-continued.html). In the last decade, new businesses started by the younger generation have sprung up, revitalizing the town. One of these is the Busshozan Hot Spring Bath.
Opened in 2005 by a young entrepreneur and architect when the hot spring waters were first discovered, it's not only one of the best hot springs on Shikoku, but the building has a lovely design that encourages relaxation.
When I stopped in the other day, I discovered a 50-meter bookstore with used books for 200 yen a piece.
The bathhouse has also become a center for locals to share information and sell their products, and it will be hosting an open air market on May 17 from 12:00-15:00.
Just down the road from the bath is a brand new addition to Busshozan: ToyToyToy, a shop that opened at the end of March. Run by Atsushi Takayanagi, it's stocked with fun and innovative 'toys' and practical items from Japan and abroad. Take this cloth for wiping glasses, for example.
When you bounce it in your hand, as Takayanagi demonstrates below, it turns into a folded origami crane.
Or how about these wallets made of recycled cardboard? The designs are all one of a kind.
Takayanagi is not a Busshozan native. While living in northern Kanto, he and his family visited Takamatsu several times and fell in love with this part of it. After the tsunami in 2011, he and his wife were looking for a place to relocate, and were invited by the young entrepreneurs in Busshozan to start up a shop. The vision, he told me, was to create a space that makes people smile. He renovated an old wooden apartment, and his playful spirit is evident in such details as a ceiling covered in tatami floor mats and a lawn and deck outside where kids can play.
He also made a gallery space, which just opened and will be exhibiting works by Gabomi, a local and very talented photographer, from May 2 to May 31 (see www.gabomi.net).
There are lots of exciting developments in Busshozan, but I'll save them for another time.
455-2 Busshozan-cho Ko, Takamatsu city, Kagawa, 761-8078, Japan
TEL : (+81)87-814-3959
SHOP HOURS : 12:00~19:00
SHOP HOLIDAYS : MONDAY
Kotoden train: Take the Kotohira line from Takamatsu Chikko station (near Takamatsu JR station) to Busshozan station (620 yen round-trip, 3 trains/hour; about 18 min. ride). Both TOYTOYTOY and Busshozan Hot Spring are located about 5 to 10 minutes walk east along the road from the station.
For more info on Takamatsu and etc: