Kotohira is on the JR Dosan Line (土讃線) from Tadotsu all the way to Kochi down south.
From Okayama on Honshu, a stop on the San'yo Shinkansen, Kotohira can be reached in one hour by taking the hourly Nanpu Limited Express train (¥3160). Slightly slower but much cheaper is to take the Marine Liner rapid train leaving at approx. 44 minutes past the hour (before the Nanpu departure) to Sakaide, and change for the local to Kotohira (80-90 minutes, ¥1300). Occasionally there are direct local trains from Okayama which take about 1 3/4 hours.
From Takamatsu, rapid trains on the Dosan line depart hourly between 10 AM and 8 PM, reaching Kotohira in 49 minutes (¥830). Or, you can use the private Kotoden Kotohira Line (琴電琴平線), which departs from Takamatsu-Chikko station at 0 and 30 minutes past the hour (one hour, ¥610).
The shrine entrance is an easily walked few hundred meters south from the train stations. True to its name, the shrine is built on a hill and it's a fairly steep climb of 800 steps all the way to the top. For a taste of medieval luxury, porters can carry you up the hill in a palanquin for even steeper prices (¥6000 and up).
The sole sight in town is the Kompira Shrine. The sights below are listed in order as you ascend the steps.
- The Great Gate (大門 Daimon), halfway up the hill, marks your entry into the shrine complex.
- A somewhat lacklustre Treasure Hall (宝物館 Hōmotsukan), entry ¥500, is to your right soon after. On a hot summer day the free air-conditioned resting area with drinking water, at the top of the next flight of steps, is likely to be more appealing.
- Asahi Shrine (旭社 Asahi-sha), which dates back to 1837, is the largest, oldest and most impressive of Konpira's many shrine halls, in ornately decorated unpainted wood.
- The Main Shrine (本宮 Hon-gū) is the centerpiece of the temple complex, with a large square in front and many buildings packed in a cluster.
- Izutama Shrine (厳魂神社 Izutama-jinja), better known simply as the Inner Shrine (奥社, Oku-sha), is another 583 steps up from the main shrine. Far fewer visitors make it all the way up here, and once up top you are rewarded with nice views over the city.
From the moment you step off the train, you'll be visually bombarded by shrieking yellow advertisements for magical Konpira amulets at ¥800 a pop, available throughout the shrine.
Eat & Drink
Kagawa prefecture is famed for its Sanuki udon wheat noodles and you'll find no shortage of shops hawking them on the road and stairway to the shrine. Konpira's very own style, creatively known as Konpira udon, is less than innovatively composed by pouring soy and bonito flakes on top of your noodles. Wash it down with the local microbrew, inevitably called Konpira Beer.
- Sunwell Kotohira, 162-1 Kotohira-cho, Nakatado, tel. 087-862-0937. Located within a few minutes walk of Kotohira station. Rooms start at ¥3500-4000 for singles, ¥6000-6500 for doubles.
This page was last edited at 19:12, on 19 December 2008 by Ryan Holliday. Based on work by Jani Patokallio, Jose Ramos and Tom Holland, Wikitravel user(s) Episteme and Victoria and Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel.