Kagawa Setouchi Art Tourism Zone
Blessings of the Seto 〜 Journeying the Sanuki 〜
〜 A Heartfelt Welcome by the Seto, Art, and the People 〜
The Seto Inland Sea, praised as a world treasure, weaves islands and the sea together into one beautiful vista. As you head to the Seto Inland Sea, stretching out gently before you is the Sanuki plain, with its riceball-shaped mountain popping up like an island glimpsed among the waves, which further heightens the serene appearance.
Being raised in such an environment, the people of this area have cultivated the essence of Japanese culture. This traditional beauty can still be seen to this day. The epitome of Edo Period culture can be seen at Ritsurin Garden built by the feudal lords, as well as Kotohira-gu, and Zentsu-ji which have the architecture and important collections of typical shrines and temples. The traditional culture born in Setouchi is not just about historical relics, but infuses all aspects of the life of the people that live here and can be seen in the lacquerware and bonsai, folk arts and crafts, and the traditional five elements of seasoning food that are so important in Japanese cooking.
In recent years art has been added to the long list of cultures that have grown and flourished around the Seto Inland Sea. The Setouchi International Art Festival take place across the islands and sees a fusion of contemporary art with traditional culture, with special attention placed on the siting of the artworks, and another major theme being the interaction between visitors, the artists, and the locals.
In this tourism zone you can come into contact with all kinds of art from traditional beauty and skills that have been passed down through the ages, to the recently added contemporary kind. You can enjoy the captivating scenery and culture of Setouchi, food that will stimulate all five senses, and meeting the locals who make their home here. For those visitors looking for a journey to experience “Seto, People, Art” you will be welcomed with a spirit of hospitality that is the norm in an area used to taking in pilgrims.
The Characteristics of this Area
Even in winter, the Setouchi has a warm climate that receives many hours of sunlight. Natural disasters like typhoons are rare, making the region blessed with a very pleasant climate.
With the Seto Inland Sea National Park (which is the very first of its kind designated in Japan) right in the center, most of the surrounding region is within 20km of the coast. In the south is the Sanuki mountain range, and to the north the Sanuki plain opens up with its riceball-shaped mountain and ponds dotted around.
Since long ago, the Seto Inland Sea has been an important point on transport routes; so it has a rich history, and folk art has been an important part of that. Having adopted contemporary art, it has become a place with a very unique and rich cultural identity.
Sanuki udon is famous all over Japan. There is also a wide range of high quality fruits and vegetables as well as Seto Inland Sea fresh seafood. Recently, olives have been added to the feed that is given to livestock such as beef and yellowtail. More popular products from this region include chicken-on-the-bone and rare sugar.