Part of the Shiwaku Island Chain, Takamijima (高見島) is an island in western Kagawa Prefecture. Takamijima translates to "high view island", which is appropriate as the small island is essentially the top of mountain that sticks out of the Seto Inland Sea. Takamijima is suffering from severe depopulation and has now less than 50 inhabitants, all of whom live in the small fishing village on the island's southeastern shore.

Takamijima is small and easily explored on foot. Visitors arrive at the ferry port at the center of the village. To the south is the Hama District, home to the Takami Hachiman Shrine and one of the island's larger graveyards. The graves on Takamijima are unique and exhibit a dual burial system with two graves: one for the remains of the deceased and one which family members pay their respects to. More homes and fish processing plants line the shore north of the port, and numerous friendly cats prowl the streets and alleyways between buildings.

The Ura District lies about 50 meters up the mountain on the steep slope overlooking the waterfront areas. This warren of terraced homes was built during the Edo Period, and its enduring buildings and rock walled terraces are connected by a labyrinth of narrow pathways and stairs. The area has appeared in a few movies in the past due to its timeworn island charm, although these days many of the homes lie abandoned. The Itamochi District, about 30 minutes walk up the island's eastern coast, used to have a single resident but is now deserted.

Like many of the other islands around the Seto Inland Sea, Takamijima is attempting to revitalize its economy and population by promoting itself as a destination for modern art. Takamijima serves as a venue of the Setouchi Triennale art festival, during which modern art installations by Japanese and foreign artists are erected around the island. A few remain as permanent installations, but are virtually never open to the public outside of the festivals.

Getting there and around

Tadotsu Station, the nearest train station to Takamijima, can be reached by JR trains from Marugame (5 minutes, 210 yen by local trains), Takamatsu (30-45 minutes, 670-1960 yen by local or limited express trains) and Okayama (45-60 minutes, 1140-2740 yen by local or limited express trains).

From Tadotsu Station, it is about a 15-20 minute walk or a short taxi ride to Tadotsu Port from where there are four daily ferries to Takamijima (25 minutes, 500 yen one way). The ferries continue beyond Takamijima to Sanagijima Island.

How to get to and around Marugame