Mt. Yashima (屋島山) is one of the best spots to go for a day of hiking and explore the history of Takamatasu in Kagawa Prefecture. Yashima, which translates to “roof island”, is a flat mountain that has a variety of things to do for the entire family.
A battlefield from 800 years ago
Mt. Yashima is historically known for the “Battle of Yashima” (屋島の合戦) where the Minamoto clan (源氏) defeated the Taira clan (平氏) in 1185. They have a monument on the mountain to commemorate this battle. Mt. Yashima has amazing structures and paths that paint a beautiful picture of what it might have looked and felt like when people of that era walked.
The hike itself is not long but the views are just breathtaking. Make sure to bring plenty of battery life because you will take many pictures. After walking through the temple and shrines you will encounter many old trees and there is even one that is almost 400 years old.
If you are tired from walking and want to relax, they have a café and a rest area where you can enjoy a good meal with a charming view of Takamatsu while enjoying the cool breeze of mountain air. They have many small shops that sell souvenirs and all sorts of interesting things.
Ninja star challenge
Besides the fantastic view of Takamatsu my next favorite thing of the mountain is the ninja star challenge. For 200 yen you get 5 clay plates that are small frisbees you throw and try to hit plates that are clipped and are dangling from the side of the mountain. The plates are probably a good 10-15 feet away from you. The best part is you throw them off the mountain and you test your ninja star throwing skills.
This game is a Japanese tradition where they would throw plates off the mountain in Yashima to ward off evil spirits and protection. The actual name of the practice is kawarake nage (かわらけ投げ), which translates to throwing clay dish.
Shin Yashima Aquarium
Another main attraction at Yashima is the aquarium (website in Japanese). There is no entrance fee to go to Yashima but there is a fee to go to the aquarium and the dolphin show. Tickets are available at the entrance. Adult tickets cost 1,200 yen, middle school and high school students 700 yen, children 3 or older 500 yen, children under 3 are free. They also have a dolphin show. At one point they used to have a cable car that would connect to different mountains but unfortunately, they stopped operating the cable car many years ago. From what I’ve heard that was a very fun and scary ride. It was the highlight of Yashima.
Mt. Yashima Information
- Website: Kagawa Official Tourism Website (English), Yashima Navi (Japanese)
- Address: Yashima Higashimachi, Takamatsu, Kagawa Prefecture 761-0111
Access by train & bus
- From Takamatsu Station, take the JR Kotoku Line or the Kotoden (ことでん) to Yashima Station.
- With JR, the trip takes under 20 minutes and costs 220 yen.
- With Kotoden, the trip takes around 20 minutes and costs 310 yen.
- From Yashima Station, take the Yashima Sanjo Shuttle Bus, which runs once or twice per hour for 100 yen one-way.
Access by car
- If you have a car you can drive up to the mountain. They have plenty of parking.
I highly recommend Yashima mountain to everyone. It is a beautiful hike and there is plenty to do.