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Zentsu-ji/Marugame Area善通寺/丸亀エリア

Kagawa香川県

Many sights to see at a temple associated with the Buddhist monk Kobo Daishi. The view of the cityscape and nearby mountains is quite charming.

The city of Zentsu-ji is located in the northwest section of Kagawa Prefecture, and faces Shikoku's Seto Inland Sea. As its name implies, it is known as the home of Zentsu-ji Temple, where the monk Kobo Daishi Kukai was born. Kobo Daishi Kukai was a brilliant monk who introduced to Japan a sect of Buddhism from China called "Shingon," or the "True Word" school of Buddhism. Zentsu-ji Temple is noted as number 75 on a list of 88 sacred places in Shikoku. It is a place where devout beliefs have been gathered from ancient times, and together with To-ji Temple in Kyoto and Mt. Koya-san in Kishu (Wakayama), it is one of three spiritual places that are particularly associated with Kobo Daishi. The Shikoku Henro (Shikoku pilgrimage) is a tour of the 88 sacred sites, and even today, many people come to experience the practices of Kobo Daishi.

Zentsu-ji Temple is said to have been built by Kobo Daishi himself about 1,200 years ago. The temple precinct, which has both an east and west academy, includes a number of splendid structures, such as the main temple, a five-storied pagoda, the Mikage-do Hall, and a national treasure hall. There are also numerous other attractions, including national treasures, important cultural items, and gigantic camphor trees that are designated as natural monuments of Kagawa Prefecture.

With the temple at its center, the city of Zentsu-ji has the streets running like the grid of a 'go' game board, and there are numerous structures located throughout the city that impart a sense of days gone by. Among them, JR Zentsu-ji Station with its tiled roof, stone steps, and timberwork ceiling has a distinct flavor, whose "daytime face" and "nighttime face" also deserve special mention. In accordance with the Zentsu-ji Light City Concept, eight locations throughout the city, including this Zentsu-ji Station, are lit up at night. As you see, Zentsu-ji has a sparkling cityscape both night and day.

A short trip from Zentsu-ji City takes you to Goshikidai (five color plateau) along the Seto Inland Sea, where you can enjoy a magnificent view.
The Goshikidai plateau extends from Takamatsu to Sakaide. The area features rounded mountains such as Ki-no-mine (Yellow Peak) and those with a table-shape such as Kokubu-dai. The plateau includes five peaks that vary in color, said to be the reason why Kobo Daishi bestowed the name Goshiki, five colors. The Red Peak reflects autumn tints in the mornings and evenings; the trees on the Yellow Peak are covered with yellow leaves; Blue Peak is covered with green pine and Japanese cypress trees even in winter; Black Peak has distinctive black-colored rock; and White Peak is capped with remaining snow for the longest period of time among them. A drive along Prefecture Road 281 offers a beautiful view of the five peaks and the Seto Inland Sea. Near the summit is the National Park Resort Village Sanuki Goshikidai.

Directions

From Tokyo :
[Air] 1h 10 min from Haneda to Takamatsu Airport, and 40 min from the airport to Zentsu-ji by car.
[Rail] 3h 20 min from Tokyo to Okayama Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line "Nozomi," and 50 min from Okayama to Zentsu-ji Station by JR Seto-Ohashi Line "Marine Liner."
From Osaka :
[Rail] 46 min from Shin-Osaka to Okayama Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line "Hikari."
From Sakaide :
[Rail] 40 min from Sakaide to Osaki Station by Kotosan Bus Ogoshi Line, and a short walk from the bus stop to Goshikidai.
From Okayama :
[Rail] 1h from Okayama to Takamatsu Station by JR Seto-Ohashi Line "Marine Liner," and 30 min from Takamatsu to Goshikidai by bus.

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