Marugame in Kagawa Shikoku and Sanuki-style Udon

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.

marugame-shikoku-mapofjapan

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. :-S

marugame-shikoku-selfudon-sanuki-menkiya-outside marugame-shikoku-self-udon-sanuki-menkiya

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.

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I got eggplant and shrimp tempura. I think my meal was 500 yen. I paid more for the taxi to get there  :roll:

marugame-shikoku-sanuki-udon-inside

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.

Old review of the restaurant in japanese here and newer review here


marugame-shikoku-sanuki-udon-lowtable

They also had traditional seating side tables, but no one was using them when I was there.

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marugame-shikoku-shoppingplazamarugame-shikoku-ghosttown

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.

marugame-shikoku-takoyaki-shop

One of the rare stores open was a Takoyaki places and a housewife picking up her order.

marugame-shikoku-enka-music-store

The music store was open with enka blaring and enka singer’s posters.

marugame-shikoku-gravestone-maker

Gravestone place opened up which was a bit eerie.

marugame-museum-art-shikokumarugame-contemporary-art-museum-at-night

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.

marugame-shikoku-train-station
marugame-shikoku-grafitti

I’m always amused to find graffiti in odd places in Japan.

marugame-shikoku-sake-shop

Even in a small deserted town a sake store will always be open.  :roll:

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.

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12 Responses to “Marugame in Kagawa Shikoku and Sanuki-style Udon”

  1. Wow totally a ghost town! And I thought the town I lived in wasn’t really inhabited XD So interesting finding such little places in Japan! I really would love to just travel all around Japan and see all these interesting places… someday! but for now i shall live through you XD

  2. Sofia says:

    Lovely post ^^ I traveled some places outside of Tokyo so far (maybe 6-7?), and I’m always interested in learning even more! There’s something special about traveling around Japan… love to see random restaurants and small shops and cafés of all kinds. Thanks for sharing :)

  3. Very interesting post! I am so glad you posted lots of pics, especially the graffiti (I love to see random graffiti too heheh). I had no idea there were so many different dialects and the difficulty of understanding them. I really like your travel posts, so thanks for blogging! :heartcat:

  4. Ludachka says:

    Wow! Thanks for this post Mitsu, it was really interesting to follow along on your jouney to Marugame :happydance:
    After reading about that udon place I’m starting to get hungry again hehe xD

  5. Love Chloe says:

    Great post as always!! I would actually love to travel to other places other than Tokyo! Love all your travel posts <3

  6. Julia says:

    OMG ;_;
    in 2009 my japanese class (me included haha) travelled to zentsuji!
    we also visited marugame and takamatsu and other smaller cities around there.
    so nostalgic seeing those pictures.
    we went to the same udon restaurant too. we were able to create udon ourself. we got a course on that hehe <;
    it was so interesting!

  7. cool! i’ve always wanted to just hop on a train and go somewhere i totally don’t know and wander… but i’m kinda too chicken. lol.

    makes for an interesting blog post though! udon is so yummy… and diet-friendly! :D

  8. Sami says:

    Such lovely photos! Thank you for sharing these

  9. K says:

    Mmmm your food is making my muth water!

    Speaking of food, last night I watched “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” (its on Netflix). Its a documentary about the top sushi chef in the world (in Tokyo). It was fascinating; I highly recommend!

  10. Magda says:

    Oh wow, this post was fascinating! I`ve been to Japan 4 times but I never saw a restaurant like that! And udon is sooo yummy… actually `ve never been to Shikoku, must go there next time! :D

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