Marugame (丸亀) is a large city in northern Shikoku, and a good stop-off before visiting the shrines in Kotohira, heading west to Matsuyama, or visiting the nearby islands.

Things to do

Kotohira-gu Shrine

A great one day trip from Marugame, Kotohira has one of Japan’s premier shrines. A mysterious group of ancient buildings up a wooded mountain.

Marugame Castle

One of 12 remaining original castles in Japan, this is worth visiting if you have an hour or so free. A hilltop castle, the castle has a grand view over the city and over to Honshuu and the islands in-between.

Open: 9am – 4pm

Price: 200 yen (children 100 yen)

How to get there

With Japan Rail Pass or Shikoku Rail Pass

From any major city in Shikoku, take a Limited Express train (about hourly).

If coming from Okayama in the main island of Honshu, take a Limited Express (40 mins). Shinkansen trains on the Rail Pass stop at Okayama.

Without a rail pass

Willer Bus has buses to Matsuyama from outside Shikoku (included in Bus Pass). JR Shikoku Bus has a range of routes, but Japan Bus Lines is the best way to search for the cheapest buses from all locations.

From Okayama, you can take a local train on the JR Seto-Ohashi Line (80 mins, 980 yen).


Published by Matthew Baxter

Japan travel writer and onsen addict