Since I was ahead of schedule to complete the pilgrimage, I decided to spend time in Takamatsu before checking in to my hotel.
Sharon and I were here for a day in November 2017. We went to the Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum and the Ritsurin Garden. We had no time for other touring. I stayed here overnight before starting the pilgrimage on 6 March.
Takamatsu is one of the four prefectural capitals of Shikoku. The pilgrimage passed through all of them: Tokushima, Kochi, and Matsuyama. They all have the big city feel of wide streets, traffic, and buzz. But treasures can be found in each.
I returned to the Ritsurin Garden. Sharon told me Ritsurin incorporates the mountain as a backdrop. The scenes were from a movie set. Ritsurin is a must for any visitor including pilgrims.
I walked to the city center, a very familiar place because the main train station is located there. Time for lunch. I returned to the restaurant where Sharon and I lunched on our visit for udon, the speciality of Shikoku. It is said that Kukai brought back the recipe for the Shikoku udon when he traveled to China – a simple mix of wheat flour (wheat fields abound in the countryside and even city plots), salt, and water. At the entrance was an udon maker preparing the noodles for lunch. Here’s what I ordered.
After lunch, I had plenty of time to explore the city. I chose the Takamatsu Art Museum. Only the first floor was open. One gallery displayed prints including a Keith Haring of the Statue of Liberty. Another gallery had pieces of lacquerware from the post-Edo period to the present. No photography was allowed but I took a photograph of a lacquerware piece from the brochure – exquisite. Our lady in the last photo in a very delicate way asked if I was over 65. Yes, admittance, free!
Time to move on. Unexpectedly, I was attracted to a newly constructed five story building that appeared to have a library. It did on the second floor – a branch of the Takamatsu Library.
The building also housed a planetarium, a center to promote gender equity, and a peace museum. The peace museum was extensive showing photos and explanations of events leading up to WWII, life during the war, the loss of loved ones in battle and on the home front. Kondo-san described his earliest recollection as a four year seeing red in the skies over Imabari after it was fire bombed in 1945. Takamatsu was bombed on 4-5 July 1945. Not much of the city was left after that.
Japan took steps after the war to make some basic reforms such as reducing its military.
What impressed me the most was the City Council’s declaration of the values and commitment of Takamatsu citizenry passed in 1980. I wonder how many people know about this document and how it is lived. From what I experienced, this spirit is alive and doing well.