Kotohiki Park in Kagawa

Sandcastles are cool, but what’s cooler is Kotohiki Park (琴弾公園; Kotohiki Ko-en), which houses a large coin-shaped sand art that’s close to 400 years old. It was created to welcome the then-daimyo (大名; feudal ruler), and citizen volunteers have been taking care of the monument in recent years.

In addition, Kotohiki Park is nationally designated as a “Place of Scenic Beauty” for its vast beach, temples, and greenery. Here, you’ll find more than 200 cherry blossom trees that bloom in late March.

Coin-shaped sand art and its origins

kotohiki park in kagawa - kanei tsuho
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In 1626, the ruling Tokugawa regimen introduced a type of Japanese coin called the Kan’ei Tsūhō (寛永通寳). 

kotohiki park in kagawa - takatoshi ikoma
Takatoshi Ikoma
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Drawing inspiration from this coin design, the locals created a sand art display to welcome their new daimyo, Takatoshi Ikoma, in 1633. This display is also known as the Zenigata Sunae (銭形砂絵; coin-shaped sand art).

kotohiki park in kagawa - sand art
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The 120m x 90m sand art is about 345m in circumference. Created using the white sand of the Ariakehama Beach, the giant art piece is vulnerable to weather elements. 

kotohiki park in kagawa - volunteers maintaining sand art
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Nevertheless, the display has survived over the centuries, and it is currently maintained through the help of citizen volunteers who regularly rearrange the sand back to its original position.

kotohiki park in kagawa - sand art viewing platform
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The best place to see the sand art is on the viewing platform located on the Kotohiki Hill. It is 60m above sea level. 

kotohiki park in kagawa - sand art light up
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It is said that gazing upon the sand art will bless one with longevity and prosperity. If you happen to visit after sunset, the sand art display will be lit in orange, and occasionally in other hues. The light-up ceases at 10PM.

Other things to see and do at Kotohiki Park

kotohiki park in kagawa - scenic beauty
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Kotohiki Park is officially recognised as “A Place of Scenic Beauty”. That’s unsurprising, considering the 50,000 black pine trees and about 200 cherry blossom trees planted in its 38.6 hectares. The cherry blossoms bloom from late March to early April, blanketing the park in soft pink hues.

kotohiki park in kagawa - kannonji temple
Kannon-ji Temple
Image credit: japanese doremi

kotohiki park in kagawa - jinne-in temple
Jinne-in Temple
Image credit: japanese doremi

The park also houses the Kannon-ji Temple and the Jinne-in Temple. The 2 temples are part of the Shikoku 88 Temples Pilgrimage, which is over 1200 years old and holds significant religious importance amongst worshippers.

kotohiki park in kagawa - kotohiki beach
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The Kotohiki Beach, with expansive white sands stretching over 2km, also warmly welcomes all beach-goers. You can find a small natural hot spring in the corner too.

Getting to Kotohiki Park

It’s not every day that you can find a sand art display as large and as old as the Zenigata Sunae. This feat is accomplished through the communal efforts of the locals, and the sand art display continues to mark Kotohiki Park as an iconic photo spot for curious tourists.

Getting there: Kotohiki Park is approximately 2km from Kannonji Station, which takes around 30 minutes to reach.

Address: 13 Ariakecho, Kanonji, 768-0062 Kagawa
Telephone: 0875-23-3933

For more places to visit, check out:

Cover image adapted from: @e_e.ikuco and @jucy104104

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