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“The Shrine: absolutely beautifull! The town: absolutely dreadfull!”
Review of Kompira-gu Shrine

Kompira-gu Shrine
Certificate of Excellence
Utrecht, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
12 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“The Shrine: absolutely beautifull! The town: absolutely dreadfull!”
Reviewed July 30, 2014 via mobile

The Shinto Shrine is definitely worth visiting. It's a beautifull Shrine and it's more than worth the climb up the several hundred stairs. After you've visited the shrine, leave Kotohira as soon as possible. The town is a touristtrap and a dreadfull place to stay the night. It's better to visit it on a daytrip from Takamatsu.

Visited July 2014
2 Thank FelixVanVugt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Level Contributor
580 reviews
381 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 738 helpful votes
“A splendid ancient pile above - wonderful park below”
Reviewed June 8, 2014

A complex of temples and ancillary buildings climbing up a steep hillside - it’s all about steps.

785 steps up (not counting the hundreds you have to climb through town to get to the start of the temple climb) steep and stone, to reach the main shrine, a splendid ancient pile spread across a broad level partway up the mountain. To the right a vantage point from which to marvel at vast view across the valley. To the left a curious open hall hung chockablock with plaques and photographs of ships, oil drilling platforms, ship engines, even Japan’s sky-sailing astronaut – anything connected with the seas. Also on the ground a sausage made somehow from umpteen gazillion recycled aluminum cans, now reformed into something that looks like a submarine covered with solar panels: this is a one-man sailboat in which some Japanese man crossed some enormous portion of the earth’s oceans, perhaps the whole shebang.  All this nauticalia is here because the shrine is dedicated to the protection of sailors – way up here on the mountainside in the middle of Shikoku Island.  Go figure.

We set out early from Marugame, arrived in Kotohira before the town had started to wake, and reached this level before the hordes of other tourists.  Most visitors climb to the main shrine, pause for some photos, and go down again.

We climb to the Inner Shrine - another 583 steps up (1368 altogether). From the main shrine onwards the walk is through really very pretty, ancient forest, sun filtering down through contorted trees, a little rivulet trickling there, your birds, your occasional flowering shrub.  There is quite a lot of walking on very shallow inclines, and the flights of steps are for the most part shorter, though the very longest reach of steps is in this route. And finally, at the very top, a tidy little ancient shrine nestled in under a cliff.  On which, unaccountably, are carved a tengu with his phallic nose and a monkey.  We spent a fair while here admiring the setting, the quiet, the birds. 

Then down. We noted on the tourist map that there lies beside the stairway a big park of some sort.  We’ve stepped off the stairs from time to time to photo some of the sakura there.  Now it occurs to us that this park appears to descend to the plain in town by gradual increments along graveled paths.

We’ve missed the first opportunity to enter the park just above the main gate at the bottom of the temple route, because we want to take photos of the five ladies and five tables under five big parasols just inside the main gate: these are members of the five families anciently permitted to do business in the temple grounds, all apparently selling the same thing.

Below the main gate there’s another chance to try on the park.  It proves a very good thing indeed.  We soon leave behind the noisy, nasty tourist clatter of the route to the shrine and find ourselves in a sort of dreamscape.  The park, which must be several hundreds of acres in size spread over a mountain with level patches and ravines, allées and cliffs, all covered in cherry trees just at peak or starting past it.  For a touch of spice there are azaleas just bursting, tree peonies just at the end of their run, wild orchids…There are occasional breezes creating showers of petals… It is beautiful.  This for us is the quintessential experience of sakura, private and alone and quiet in the midst of such wonders.  It is unheralded and unexpected and entirely welcome.

Visited March 2014
2 Thank hfot2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
21 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Amazing Place”
Reviewed April 4, 2014

It was so nice experience and I loved the atmosphere.. Although so many stairs made me tired to claim but it was definetly worth to visit ..

Visited November 2013
Thank Adventurer1453
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Luanda, Angola
Level Contributor
156 reviews
41 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 92 helpful votes
“Amazing view from the top but a long walk upwards”
Reviewed August 4, 2013

The stairs are great as you get an excellent work out climbing some 700+ stairs. lots of places to stop and rest with ice at each stop for free to cool down. Enjoyed the walk. Restaurants close to the top help to get an ice cream as well. On top there is just the temple and a great view.

Visited July 2013
1 Thank mwant999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
53 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Seafarers in the mountains”
Reviewed February 6, 2013

Temples scattered along the slopes of a mountain with wonderful museums : worth a half day or more. Quite a unique place !

Visited January 2013
Thank louisairelle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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