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A small town in Kagawa Prefecture, Japan with many historic sites including the Kompirasan Shrine and Kanamaruza Kabuki Theater, as well as the popular Konpira Onsen area filled with traditional hot spring ryokans.


Kotohira is a small town located in Kagawa Prefecture, which is the home to the famous Kompirasan Shrine, regarded as one of the most visited shrines on Shikoku Island. Kotohira makes up for its small area, by offering a cultural experience including many historic sites with a relaxing hot spring resort area known as Konpira Onsen. At the Kompirasan Shrine, known as the guardian shrine of the sea, attracts thousands of worshipers a day, popular among fishermen, sailors and large shipping companies. Visiting this shrine can be a challenge for the hike towards the main shrines consisting of 1,368 stone steps. The complex of this shrine is unique among other shrines in Japan for its mixture between Shinto and Buddhism Temples. Elements and traits in the architecture and atmosphere are still available for worshipers to experience, even after the Meiji government enforced the separation of the two religions throughout Japan. Touristy souvenir shops and restaurants with specialty Sanuki Udon greet hikers at the half way point of the stairs among stone lanterns and structures along the way. A unique palanquin at the entrance of the shrine is offered to visitors, which only transports you up to the main gate of Kompirasan, regarded as the shrine with the most difficult approach in Japan. The Kanamaruza Kabuki Theater is located to the south entrance of the shrine, a restored Edo period venue to the traditional Japanese performance. Although kabuki performances at this venue are limited from time to time, travelers can explore the traditional playhouse, along with its dressing rooms and special rotating stage devices at the basement. Lastly, be sure to relax and spend a night at the Konpira Onsen area where many traditional hot spring ryokans are located. The therapeutic waters have been in use since the early Edo period. Century year old ryokans with natural gardens and a view of nearby mountains are offered to travelers with the best service spirit Japan is known for. A kaiseki cuisine, known world-wide as eatable art, can be enjoyed after a rejuvenating bath, marking the highlight of the dream trip to Japan.