I haven’t done a travel or a food post recently yet I have a lot to do. Last year I went to Marugame, Japan for two days. Now Japan fiends may not even know where Marugame is. It’s on the smallest of the four main islands of Japan: Shikoku.
I decided to stay in Marugame because it was the first stop off the rails from the main island from Okayama. Apparently I was alone in that idea because Marugame is as close to a deserted town as I’ve come across, with closed-up malls and shut down department stores really make the place a bit melancholy to visit. It did have a wonderful udon place and friendly old folks.
I hearted Tokyo and then at the tiny island I marked the heart where Marugame is. It’s not even listed on this map.
Shikoku is known for its Sanuki-style udon (wiki) which being a local food lover I had to try. So I got into a taxi and asked the guy to take me to the best udon restaurant in town. The problem was the guy spoke Sanuki-ben. If you think Kansai-ben is difficult to listen to, Sanuki-ben is beyond incomprehensible. I didn’t have problems with Okinawa taxi drivers who were happy to talk who supposedly have a hard accent to deal with, but Tosa-ben was crazy(Wiki Japan has a better post about differences). I was amazed I even made it to an udon place.
With only one main train line running through the whole of Shikoku, it is very much a car place. And it needs a huge parking lot because it’s a giant restaurant.
I got eggplant and shrimp tempura. I think my meal was 500 yen. I paid more for the taxi to get there
It was also one of the biggest restaurants in Japan I’ve ever been to with 120 seats. For a Tokyo girl that is just unheard of.
Menu and prices were above in traditional style. The whole thing was self serve. You were delivered a bowl of udon with no toppings and added your own toppings.
They also had traditional seating side tables, but no one was using them when I was there.
After my meal I decided to try to walk back since my taxi fare was pricey the first time. Even though I was there during open hours, most of the entire covered mall was shuttered and businesses forever gone.
One of the rare stores open was a Takoyaki places and a housewife picking up her order.
The music store was open with enka blaring and enka singer’s posters.
Gravestone place opened up which was a bit eerie.
Right outside the train station was this oddity. A Museum of Contemporary Art in a deserted town. I’m sad I didn’t visit, but was in a time crunch.
I’m always amused to find graffiti in odd places in Japan.
Even in a small deserted town a sake store will always be open.
I have some really lovely sights from Takamatsu to show off, so even if Marugame is a bit sad and small, please don’t think of Shikoku as only that.