Kagawa (Japan)

2017-04-10 15:55:40 , Source : The Government Website of Shaanxi Province


Kagawa is situated in north-eastern part of Japan’s Shikoku region, in the center of the Seto Inland Sea national park. The land, which is half moon shaped, is higher in the south and lower in the north. The Sanuki Mountains stretch across the southern part, and the broad Sanuki plains occupy much of the northern part. Most rivers originate in the Sanuki Mountains and flow northward to the Seto Inland Sea. There are about 699 kilometers of coastline and numerous islands out to sea. With an area of 1786 square kilometers, it is the smallest of all Japan's prefectures. The population is 1,032,000, ranked 40th in Japan. Kagawa has 5 cities and 38 towns, and its area is divided into East Sanuki, middle Sanuki, and the three areas of west Sanuki. The capital, Takamatsu, is the gateway to Shikoku Island. Kagawa has a warm and dry climate.

Origin of the county’s name

From the late 7th century to the late 19th century, Kagawa Prefecture was known as the Sanuki State, within which was a place named Kagawa County. According to Japanese history book, "All Sanuki History" records, in the Kagawa Mountains there was a village named Eva Kawamura, within which grew an ancient birch tree, which constantly emitted a fragrant scent. The stream that flowed under the tree was taken on this aroma. After joining the county’s river, the stream flow into the sea, and so the entire county was permeated with the delicate fragrance. This is the origin of Kagawa’s name. It is also said that the Kagawa Prefecture got its name from Kagawa-gun


Kagawa Prefecture has a total of more than 60 Paleolithic period relic sites, of which the 20,000-year-old Kokubu-dai ruins are the most famous. Around the 3rd century BC, rice cultivation technology was brought to Japan from China via the Korean Peninsula. In the Tadotsu-cho Mitsui site, tools, pots, cans and other supplies that were used by people to harvest at that time were excavated

At the end of the 3rd century BC, in some places in Japan, local leaders started to build tombs in West Japan. Mostly square at the front and rounded at the back, those tombs are known as “spoon graves.” In Kagawa’s Takamatsu City, the Shiqing Oyama ancient groups of tombs, which were built in the same period, were discovered. At these ancient tombs, bronze mirrors made in China were unearthed.

In the fourth and fifth century, the Grand River Dynasty gradually unified Japan, and according to records in the historical book “Japan record,” this was completed in 720 AD. The Kagawa Prefecture was formerly known as the Sanuki State. Around the 6th century AD, Buddhism was brought to Japan from China and spread throughout the country. In 774, Kukai was born in Sanuki State. He arrived in China during the year 804, where he studied Buddhism and culture in Chang'an, the Tang capital. In 806, he returned to Japan, where he was to have a far-reaching impact on Japanese Buddhism and culture.

At the end of 11th century, amid disputes over the inheritance right to the Imperial throne, the military samurai class began to rise. During this time, the Heishi and Genji were the two most powerful families. In 1183, the Genji family defeated the Heishi family and occupied the capital, Heian-kyō (now known as Kyoto). After the Heishi family established a new stronghold in Takamatsu City’s Yashima, they were crushed by Genji forces in 1185. Following this, the remnants of the Heishi forces were completely defeated in the Yamaguchi. During the Battle of Dannoura, the leader of the Genji family, Yoshitsune, gained the highest seat of samurai class. He established a samurai regime, and the samurai class became the actual rulers of Japan. Now, in Kagawa Island, still preserved in Yashima of Kagawa, are the ruins of the "Gempei Gassen" Yashima Battle. The Yashima-ji Temple, which is located on Yashima Island, is reported to be built by the Tang monk Jianzhen who sailed east to Japan in the year 754.

Tokugawa established the Edo Bakufu, literally “tent government”, in Edo (now known as Tokyo), which lasted from 1603 until 1867. This was the last of the samurai regimes. During this period, Sanuki State was split into the Takamatsu Han, the Marugame Han and several other "Hans," or domains, each Han was ruled by the Han’s leader. Today, located in the city of Takamatsu, the Ritsurin Park, which was very popular among the people of Kagawa Prefecture, contained garden architecture that was completed during the middle of the 18th century by the Takamatsu han lord Matsudaira Yoritaka. As an important part of cultural heritage, Ritsurin Park was highly praised both at home and abroad and in 1953 it was designated as an official national scenic spot of historical significance.

In the late Edo period, there was a confrontation between the Bakufu and another opposing samurai group over the establishment of diplomatic relations with America and Europe. This split intensified and developed into civil war. In 1867, the Edo Bakufu returned political power to the court, and a new political system under the rule of an emperor was formed. This started modern nation-building. In the construction process of this emerging country, the "Sanuki State" as a local regime changed its name to Kagawa in 1871. Since then, after two mergers and separations with its neighboring county, in 1888 it was formed into what is known today as Kagawa.


In the past, Kagawa’s industry mainly focused on petroleum products, coal products, metal products, food, fiber product processing, shipbuilding, chemicals and other so-called heavy industries. In recent years, with the help of microelectronics technology, Kagawa actively supports high-added-value, knowledge-intensive industries, especially those with emphasis on cutting-edge technology research and development. In addition, Kagawa has also continued with Udon noodles, soy sauce, gloves, lacquerware, fans and other traditional local industries.


Kagawa is a county with a relatively developed agriculture. With an arable land of 290.52 square kilometers, it is mainly engaged in rice cultivation, the development of vegetables, fruits, livestock and other complex agriculture. The county currently produces different varieties of high-quality crops, of which carnations and the “gold time carrot” are the most famous. Due to a low level of precipitation, the people of Kagawa have long paid attention to irrigation and have built more than 20,000 reservoirs and dams. The biggest one is known as the Manno-ike Reservoir, with an area of 138.5 hectares and a storage capacity of 15.4 million tons. The construction of Manno-ike Reservoir began in AD 702, it is said that it was Master Kūkai that organized people to build a dam for water storage after returning to Japan from China. The Manno-ike Reservoir was eventually completed in 1959. The Kagawa people are very diligent, they began the method of growing two harvests per year very early, Therefore a man from Kagawa has become known as a "Sanuki man" in Japan, meaning that they work hard and are good at calculating.


Kagawa aquaculture features the Seto Inland Sea fisheries and Seriola fish, as well as the seaweed-centered aquaculture industry.


Kagawa’s woodland area covers 882.58 square kilometers, accounting for 47% of the total area of the county.

Foreign trade

Imported commodities are copper ore, petroleum, coal, grain, timber and other raw materials; the main exported products are ships, lifting cars, bearings, video cameras, heavy industries such as coke manufacture, and chemical industry products.


In 1988, the Seto Bridge opened, which links Honshu and Shikoku, resulting in great improvements to Kagawa transport system, and bringing about significant convenience to both industrial activities and the lives of residents. It took nine and a half years to complete and cost 1,120 billion yen. There are six sub-bridges, which include the total bridge, with a length of 12.3 kilometers, of which 9.4 kilometers are in the sea. It is the world's largest railway and highway bridge.

The modern New Takamatsu Airport opened in 1989 and has the longest runway within the Shikoku region. Connections were opened to Seoul, Hong Kong, Hawaii and Singapore

There is also a highway that connects Tokushima Prefecture, Ehime Prefecture, and leads to various parts of Japan.

With improvements made to these three already-completed transportation systems, the time distance between Kagawa Prefecture and all other Japan regions has been greatly reduced, and Kagawa has been able to enter the era of high-speed traffic.


Kagawa has 206 primary schools with nearly 60,000 primary students; 91 junior school with nearly 30,000 junior school students; 45 high schools with about 30,000 high school students; 13 Universities with 15,000 students. Of the national universities there is Kagawa University and Kagawa Medical University; of private universities there is the Shikoku College University and the Tokushima University of Arts and Sciences; there are also seven other short-term universities and two high-level specialized industry colleges.

Cultural News

Within the Kagawa Prefecture there are 17 library and archive institutions, eight museums, two art galleries, 18 cinemas, and 70 bookstores. Kagawa Prefecture has three private television stations, one public television branch, one folk radio station, one local newspaper, five national newspaper branches, and two national news agency branches.


With a warm climate and a beautiful natural environment, Kagawa is a good place for tourism. The main attractions are as follows:

Kotohiraguu Kotohira-guu Shrine

The shrine is located on the 521-meter altitude mountainside of Zouzui-zan Mountain, in the western part of Kagawa. It is famous because this site honors the deity of shipping and seafarers, known as Kampilla. Referred to as the patron saint of the sea, the deity has curative effects on diseases, helps people avoid bad luck, and brings good luck, the deity has long been popular among the people of Kagawa. In the whole area, there is the Main Hall, the Asahi-no-yashiro Shrine, the Inner Sanctuary, the External Sanctuary, the Internal College and various other historical sites. In addition, there is the Treasure Museum, which has collected 11 Kwan-yin statues and other treasures, and the learning reference exhibition hall, where various arts and crafts commodities, which have been submitted by followers, are exhibited.

Takamatsu Azushima

Azushima is located in north-eastern part of Takamatsu City. It is a big island in the Seto Inland Sea, second in size only to Awaji Island, with a perimeter of 126 kilometers. Its warm climate, much like the Mediterranean, is suitable for the cultivation of citrus plants, and is famous as the origin of Japan olive cultivation.

There are folk archive institutions on the island, displaying various types of information about Azushima history and folklore. In addition, there is the Azushima olive park, with landscape very much like the Mediterranean coast with olive plantations, herb gardens, Greek-style windmills and much more. In the park there is an olive tree memorial hall, which visitors, as well as learning knowledge on olive trees cultivation, can enjoy the fun of making vanilla crafts .

Takamatsu City

Takamatsu City, as the gateway city of Shikoku, is not only a key site for transportation, but also the Kagawa political, economic and cultural center. Additionally, it is also a city full of modernity. During the 17th century Edo period, the "castle town" of Heike family (towns developed from the feudatory residence) thrived. Currently, it still retains many historical sites including the Tamamo Koen Park, which was restored from the Takamatsu City relic site, and the Kuribayashi Park, which has six ponds and 13 rockeries in the park, important scenes that come up in Japanese paintings. Another important historical site is the Takamatsu lord’s Bodhi Temple.


Yashima is located in northern Kagawa, stretching into the Seto Inland Sea, on a rocky crag with an altitude of 293 meters, and belongs to the Seto Inland Sea National Park. The peak is very flat, looking like a roof from distance; therefore it is named Yashima Plateau. In the 12th century, the samurai Genji’s defeated their enemy Heike thus giving the Yashima Plateau its fame. From the Danko-rei Observatory we can see the ancient battle field. From the viewing platform of vivid Lions, you can see the islands in Setouchi Island Sea. This location is known as the Seto Inland Sea resort’s first viewing point.

Zentsuji Temple

Zentsuji Temple is the birthplace of the monk Kukai. Additionally, it is also a famous Japanese temple, being referred to as one of the three holy sites linked to Kobo Daishi with the East Temple of Kyoto and Koya San in Wakayama.

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