© Said Karlsson/Lonely Planet

Kagawa Prefecture

Formerly known as Sanuki, Kagawa Prefecture (香川県) is the smallest of Shikoku's four regions and the smallest of the country's 47 prefectures. The region's hospitable weather and welcoming people have always been a comfort to pilgrims as they come to the end of their journey. To henro, Kagawa is known as Nehan-no-dōjō, the 'place of completion', as it has the last 22 of the 88 pilgrimage temples.

Kagawa's attractions include the celebrated shrine of Konpira-san in Kotohira, the lively port city of Takamatsu with its world-renowned Japanese garden, Ritsurin-kōen, and the folk village of Shikoku-mura at Yashima. Today, the prefecture is a major point of arrival for visitors to Shikoku, since the only rail link with Honshū is via the Seto-ōhashi bridge to Okayama. Takamatsu is also only a short ferry ride away from the Inland Sea's popular 'art island' of Naoshima.