it's all about Kukai
It's painful but necessary to confess that most small to mid size Japanese cities are, well... ugly. Perhaps it's better to say that little if any meaningful thought has been given to urban design and its impact upon the social fabric. I guess this is why, on those occasions I stumble upon the rare exception I am reminded of how remarkable life in Japan can be when everything comes together just so.
Hiwasa is indeed one of the afore mentioned exceptions. A small town tucked neatly into the folds where mountains dip gently into the sea.
Kukai, the formal name of the Buddhist monk who established Shikoku's Ohenro spiritual pilgrimage, refers to the indistinguishable horizon which separates the blues of sea and sky. A near perfect metaphor for this pleasant little coastal town that embraces mountains and sea, locals and travelers, the familiar and the foreign.
An easy stroll from end to end, its streets are lined with eclectic cafes, esoteric shops, and some of the most surprising and unique stays in all of Shikoku.
So if you're into surfing, skateboarding, sculpture, art, French culture, architecture, Buddhism, Japanese history, nature preserves, urban revitalization, beautiful beaches, or you simply just want a cool place to visit, you surely won't be disappointed here.