An off-the-beaten-path gem overlooked by tourists, Mount Yashima is an ideal destination for an excursion into the bountiful nature and cultural legacy of Kagawa Prefecture. Located on the outskirts of Takamatsu, the mountain is notable for its flat plateau resembling a roof—earning it the name Yashima, which literally translates as “roof island.” Don’t be deceived by the name, however, as Mount Yashima offers much more than just a mountain. A veritable small town in itself, here visitors will find a museum, an aquarium, a temple, and of course, astonishing views of the sea and the landscape for which the site is best known.
From Yashima Station, follow the pilgrimage road walked by the great monk Kobo Daishi—founder of the esoteric Shingon school of Buddhism—to the summit of the mountain. You needn’t be an experienced hiker—simply follow the cobbled paths and attune your ears to the sound of the rustling leaves, and you’ll soon be welcomed by the magnificent Yashimaji Temple. More adventurous types can opt for the Old Pilgrimage Path or the West Yashima Old Path, which allow for even more scenic views of natural splendor along the way, as well as temples and other sites rich in history, a fitting reward for the challenging trek. Not far from Yashimaji Temple is the Shishi no Reigan Observation Deck, one of three main spots where you’ll be greeted by a breathtaking view of the Seto Inland Sea and its islands―a sight no traveler should miss.
Mount Yashima is also famous as the site of one of the most significant battles in Japanese history between the warring Taira and Minamoto clans some eight centuries ago. If you’re a history buff, why not stop by these storied sites to further deepen your understanding of this stunning natural setting?
Address: Mount Yashima, Takamatsu, Kagawa Prefecture
Airport: Takamatsu Airport