Haruki Murakami’s 2002 novel Kafka on the Shore begins in bustling Tokyo, Japan, but takes us on a literary road trip that follows the protagonist, Kafka Tamura, as he runs away from home. He ends up on Shikoku, the smallest of Japan’s four main islands. He finds refuge in the Komura Memorial Library and explores the mysteries of the library and the people he finds there.
Although the Komura Memorial Library is fictional, it is based on a real place: the Kamada Museum, which is located in Sakaide just outside Takamatsu, Japan. So if you’re a Murakami fan and find yourself in Takamatsu, here are some suggestions for your stay!
While you’re in Takamatsu, you can visit some of the other locations mentioned in the novel, such as Takamatsu Station and the bridge connecting the island of Shikoku to the mainland. Make sure to try the local delicacy, Sanuki udon, which is a popular noodle dish. Despite it not being mentioned in Murakami’s novel, the Ritsurin Garden is also worth a visit for its serene ponds, refreshing teahouses and beautiful exhibits of art.
Takamatsu may not be as busy as Tokyo, but it has a lot to offer the curious and literary traveler!
Photo: Leela Soden