The Shrine of a Thousand Steps

Konpira Shrine is located halfway up Mount Zozu in the town of Kotohira in Kagawa Prefecture. Formally known as Kotohira-gu (金刀比羅宮), the site is Shikoku’s largest and most popular shrine complex. Originally a Buddhist temple later converted to Shinto, Konpira-san, the guardian god of mariners, is enshrined here.

The approach to the main sanctuary is a climb up 785 stone steps, while reaching the inner shrine is a total of 1,368 steps. From the top there is a great view of Kotohira town and the Sanuki Plain. Lining the path up to the main gate are shops selling souvenirs and traditional crafts, as well as specialty restaurants. It’s a bit touristy but luckily not very crowded. This is also a good place to sample the area’s most famous food item, Sanuki udon noodles.

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