Photo Credit:Mathias Erhart
Kotohira-gu Shrine is a sacred place that is regarded as a challenge for tourists and travelers and receives many visitors every day. To get there one can take the Kotoden train from Kawaramachi Station. The shrines were built along the hill-road and for visiting the topmost shrine It is one of the most difficult shrines to get to in Japan due to it’s difficult, 1,368 step stair case. Don’t worry, if you are too exhausted when you reach the shrine area at the end of your journey, you will be able to sit down and eat at a restaurant and cafe once you’ve reached.
Photo Credit:KOTOHIRA-GU 金刀比羅宮
There are many temples you can visit on your route to Kotohira-gu, as well as the ability to see a Sake museum. For as long as Kotohira-gu Shrine has been around it has been a place of great reverence because of the helpful spirits that are said to live there. The shrine, considered to be built in the first century is said to be the home of many gods, such as the god of navigation. Kotohira-gu Shrine is well known across Japan by its nickname, Konpira Shrine which based on the eleven faced goddess. Within the temple there is a large Ema hall where the Shinto worshipers will write their prayers onto a plaque of wood so that the spirits connected to the religion will be able to read them.
Furthermore it is the headquarters of other area shrines and along with the national treasures, the valuable paintings and Buddha statues give visitors the opportunity to enjoy the traditional arts during the climb. Within the temple area is an academic art gallery where many works from famous artists across Japan have been donated to be displayed.
If you are lucky enough to visit Kotohira-gu Shrine during the fall you will be able to witness a ceremony where Shinto practitioners carry a large Mikoshi, which is a portable shrine, all of the way up the staircase! For many people in Japan and around the world, visiting Kotohira-gu Shrine is a once-in-a-lifetime dream. It is about 45 minutes away (by bus) from Takamatsu Airport and a 15-minute walk from the nearby station.
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Address: 892-1 Kotohira, Nakatadogun, Kagawa Prefecture
15 minute walk from Takamatsu Kotohira Dentesu Kotoden Line Kotohira station
20 minute walk from JR Kotohira Station
6:00 AM – 6:00 PM (April – September)
6:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Ovtober – March)
Website: Kotohira-gu Shrine (Japanese)