Due south: Kotohira City in Kagawa
Konpira in Kagawa (5)
Konpira city centre
Konpira is the main sightseeing spot in Kotohira City, but there are some others to see.
So, it’s nice to look around if you’ve got a time.
[Saya-bashi (Saya bridge)]
“Saya” means scabbard.
It is said that this bridge was originally built in Genroku era, the early Edo period (between 1688 and 1704).
The bridge was washed out by floods and rebuilt again and again.
The present bridge was built in 1869 and moved to this location.
It’s been closed to the public since 1922.
Now it’s only used for Konpira rituals (three times a year).
Can you see the rope with pieces of paper (called “shide”, hanging paper) across on the bridge?
It’s called “shimenawa”, to show the border of sacred / pure area.
In old times, it was called “shirikumenawa” (or “shirikubenawa”), and it is mentioned in “Kojiki”, the oldest extant chronicle in the early 8th century.
[Kyuu Konpira Ooshibai (The former great Konpira playhouse)]
The oldest existent playhouse in Japan.
Originally built in 1835.
As time went by, it declined, and was finally closed and abandoned.
People didn’t want it to be left ruined, so they began a movement for conservation.
On June 17th in 1970, it was designated as a nationally important cultural property.
Relocation and reconstruction started in 1972 and it took 4 years to complete.
Then it was restored and retrofitted for earthquake protection in 2003.
It’s now also known as “Kanamaru-za”, which was named in 1900.
(Its name was changed several times when its ownership was transferred)
Konpira Kabuki (“kabuki” is one of the traditional Japanese performing arts) has been performed since 1985.
Usually performances are held for a few weeks in April, so it was closed when I went at the end of the year.
Except the annual performance, it seems to be rarely used.
I’m not sure if any acts other than Kabuki are played here.
[Dai-sendan (or maybe pronounced as “Oo-sendan”) (Huge chinaberry tree)]
This tree is in a parking area for tour buses.
It’s about 300-year-old and designated as a national natural treasure.
18 meters (approx. 59 feet) high, and its trunk circumference is 6.85 meters (approx. 22.5 feet).
“Sendan” was called as “Auchi” (pronunciation is similar to English word “ouch”) in the old times.
The word “Auchi” can be considered as the two words “Au” (meet) and “chi” (place), so it is said that lovers came to see each other under this tree.
[Street in the city]
This is just an off-license (liquor shop) I saw when I was wandering about.
I took this photo because I liked the old signboards.
Where to stay in Kotohira
Kotohira is an “onsen” (hot spring) area.
So, there are many accommodations with “onsen”.
I stayed at a cheap hotel (without “onsen”) near the JR railway station (there are two railways in Kotohira – the one is JR which runs throughout Japan, and the other is “Koto-den”, a local private railway), and it was nothing special.
Actually, I even don’t remember where I stayed.
What to eat in Kotohira
Udon! Udon!! U-do-nnnn!!!
Kagawa is very famous for “udon”, a Japanese thick noodle made from wheat flour.
I was looking forward to eat udon cuisine in Kotohira, but all the udon diners were closed in the evening.
A local told me “Udon is the food for lunch, so you can’t have it for dinner.”
It was totally a surprise because I have no problem to eat udon in the night in Okayama.
Anyway, I had a fish dish instead at a small restaurant, and it was reasonable and good.
– Example photos of udon dishes –
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