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

Matthew Baxter is a British travel author who has lived in and visited Japan for over a decade. Having traveled across the country, without much money, he has built up an extensive knowledge of budget travel here, and has also worked for many leading tourism companies. He also writes professionally for several websites and publications, such as the GaijinPot, All About and the Japan National Tourist Association.