Japan: Takamatsu questions

Aug 12th, 2005, 05:00 AM
  #1  
emd
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Japan: Takamatsu questions

We plan to go to Takamatsu mid-April 2006 and stay two days w/one overnight as part of a few days from Kyoto, along w/an overnight on Naoshima and a day in Kurashiki. I think the options are either do the whole trip on JR from Kyoto-Kurashiki-Okayama-Uno,ferry to Naoshima (20 min.), ferry to Takamatsu (1 hr), then either JR back to Okayama-Kyoto (2 hrs) or Jumbo FErry to Kobe (long-4 hrs) and JR to Kyoto (1 hr). Or vice versa.

Questions:
1) Anyone taken the Jumbo Ferry? Is that route worth the extra $ and 3 hrs?
2) At Takamatsu we plan to go to Isamu Noguchi museum and SHikoku-Mura (really interested in both fo these), Ritsurin Koen (and one of the pondside teahouses), try to see kabuki at the Kompira Oshibai, shop at that longest covered 2 miles arcade.
Any other tips? What is the rest of the Yahima plateau like? Hotels? We'd like to do a soba noodle making workshop but I can only find the info in Japanese...

Thanks for insights...I know we are missing Matsumaya but Takamatsu sounds more interesting to us culturally for those first two listed (and we will go to Himeji this time for the castle).
emd is offline  
Aug 12th, 2005, 06:00 AM
  #2  
 
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Bonjour Emd,

I've been spending the day waiting for your questions ;-). Here goes:


> Anyone taken the Jumbo Ferry? Is that route worth the extra $ and 3 hrs?

I found the ferry ride very relaxing, with a fantastic view of the Inland Sea islands, and the approach of Kobe from the sea gives a different perspective, all despite it being a rainy day. I'm looking forward to do it again in better weather. It is also very convenient with a direct bus from the pier to Kobe JR station where you can take a direct to Kyoto. The price is only Y 1900, you have to be at the pier h before departure (or 45 min at Takamatsu station where a bus will take you to the pier).


> At Takamatsu we plan to go to Isamu Noguchi museum and SHikoku-Mura (really interested in both fo these), Ritsurin Koen (and one of the pondside teahouses), try to see kabuki at the Kompira Oshibai, shop at that longest covered 2 miles arcade.

The view from Yashima plateau is great, the walk from the cable car easy, and the food excellent, there's a beautiful temple and some good shopping too. Bring back some of the tiles you're supposed to throw from the cliff for good luck (don't ask, go there, nice chuckle to be had and I don't want to spoil it for anyone ;-)). Don't waste time with the aquarium. There's a direct bus from Takamatsu and you can go back down with the cable car, then visit Shikoku Mura (3 min on foot) and come back by train with the Kotoden line.

Ritsurin Koen is definitely worth a visit. Look around you in the arcades and on the side streets, lots of funny or curious sights, many fit for www.engrish.com. Another stunning sight (but safe for the eyes children) is the frescoes in the underway passage at the crossing of Central street and central park

>Any other tips? Hotels?

I've only stayed at Takamatsu City Hotel (booked via Welcome Inns), which was cheap (Yen 7000 for a twin), clean and extremely convenient, but breakfast is not included and really poor. There's a lot of nice cafés and convenience stores nearby, though. I'd consider booking a better hotel near the station or preferably the harbour next time.

>We'd like to do a soba noodle making workshop but I can only find the info in Japanese...

Takamatsu tourist office might help you.

http://www.city.takamatsu.kagawa.jp/english/index.html
Florence is offline  
Aug 12th, 2005, 07:23 AM
  #3  
emd
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GREAT info! Thanks many times.

What about the Naratu Whirlpools? I can't figure out the draw of these- is it visually cool or what? I think you saw them- byy boat or from the bridge? My daughter is a little freaked by the idea of being in a boat to see it (like we might get sucked in or something...)
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Aug 12th, 2005, 07:23 PM
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Re hotels-we stayed at www.toyoko-inn.com for around 6800 per twin bed room. Ask for a corner room-they are double the normal size. The Ritsurin Garden is 5 mins walk from this hotel. We took a train and the views were fabulous. Try to get a seat upstairs on the train. You can see Himeji Castle in a couple of hours from Kyoto. Not much else to see in Himeji. We preferred Matsumoto Castle to Himeji.
Lyndie is offline  
Aug 13th, 2005, 03:33 AM
  #5  
emd
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Thanks Lyndie. What train is it that has an upstairs?

I want a nicer hotel for this trip. I'd like something closer to the water w/nice views. There is an ANA hotel and a Rihga. Both are very close to the JR station, 4-5 blocks from the water. I am looking at those and others.
emd is offline  
Aug 13th, 2005, 04:11 PM
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Hi emd-we caught a limited Express to Shikoku. It was called the Marineliner or something similar and it had upstairs & downstairs seating. The seats upstairs had a fab view and we'd booked too late to request one. So we simply stood by the driver's carriage and saw the views from his big front window. If you are seated downstairs you'd miss the great bridge crossing and the magic water views as the bottom part of the train is lower than the stations platforms, obscuring the view.
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Aug 14th, 2005, 06:25 PM
  #7  
emd
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Lyndie, this is absolutely wonderful information. This is the train we will likley take back from Takamatsu. I never would have known to book upstairs on this train. None of the guidebooks or websites mention it. Thank you so much. What a great tip.

Florence or anyone else- what about those freaky whirlpools??
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Aug 14th, 2005, 09:53 PM
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You are most welcome emd! I think we got bad seats in the very front carriage because we booked about 1 hr before the train departed. And it was full!

Just ensure the JR booking people understand that you absolutely must see the views! We would not have known how good the views from the train were, only that some Japanese in our carriage started moving towards the front of the train & upstairs! We were sitting below,chatting our heads off. All the best!
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Aug 14th, 2005, 10:58 PM
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Bonjour Emd,

The whirlpools (called Usushio) are definitely worth the view, from the bridge or from a boat (no risk of being sucked in, they do expect visitors to come again). It is at least a daytrip. Make sure you go when the tide is high, the tourist office in Takamatsu will give you a table.

We went there from JR Takamatsu (Usushio line - about 1 hour) with a change at Ike-no-Tani, a small, quaint station where we boarded an old train, more of a kind of tramway, called a "one-man-car" (about 15 min). There's few of them left nowadays.

Naruto is a quiet little town, there are some really nice hotels on the beachfront, but we stayed in a business hotel near the station.

There are busses from the station that go to the whirlpools, a nice 20 min ride. You can stop one stop from the observatory and board a ship, or go all the way to the observatory, where you can ride an escalator to the top of the hill for a rather spectacular view, or walk to the bridge (I didn't go there but will next time). There's a small shop at the bus stop where you can buy yummy sweet potatoes baked in cane syrup and other local delicacies while you wait for your return bus.

Alternatively, you can take the Usushio train all the way to Tokushima and board a ship to the whirlpools.
Florence is offline  
Aug 15th, 2005, 01:15 AM
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For non francophones, that's pronouced "uzu-shio".
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