Currently, there is a photo contest underway on Shodoshima Island. Click here for information on how to enter:
Twenty-four spots on the island have been designated as places to be photographed. In today’s article, I’m going to introduce Meirono Machi, which lies in the western part of the island, close to the famous Angel Road
Meirono Machi’s Surreal Alleyways
In the western part of Shodoshima lies Tonosho, and a particular residential area with intricately designed roads and alleyways. Step inside, and it will be dark before you get out! Meirono Machi (Maze Town) has wrought confusion upon visitors for the past 680 years. When the town was built, Shodoshima was engulfed in war, so the locals built it as a labyrinth to gain an advantage against attacking enemies.
However, nowadays the area has many art galleries and tourists are attracted by its lovely charm and and photogenic townscape.
Well then, I heard one way of enjoying the area is to solve puzzles while finding your way around the labyrinth, so let’s try!
Solving Puzzles in Meirono Machi!
The first thing that awaited us was MeiPAM1. It used to be a drapery shop, but now serves as the start of the puzzle-solving tour. It is also the goal of the game. Next to it is a suspicious-looking iron tower. Supposedly, if you manage to solve all the puzzles, you will get a key to enter it.
I wonder what’s inside…
No use lingering about! Let’s go solve those puzzles!
When you start the puzzle-solving tour, you receive a card key that allows you to enter many different places. You go to the designated places, enjoy the exhibited art and solve the puzzles. It’s kind of like a real-life escape game! There are four puzzles in total.
Meirono Machi has tons of these forked paths. You’ll get lost if you take the wrong one, so those of you who have no sense of direction: be careful!
The only obvious landmark in the area is Saikoji Temple’s red pagoda. As it’s the only object that can be seen from most places in the area, it’s very handy to use as a guide for getting around.
Walking around the labyrinth, visiting places of interest, and solving puzzles sure does make one hungry.
Eating at Shimameshiya
Let’s take a break from puzzle-solving and get something to eat!
At the restaurant Setonouchi Shimameshiya, you can order dishes made with locally grown ingredients. The most popular items on the menu are the sets where you can choose from between 7 or 8 different side dishes. Choose three (1000 yen) or four (1250 yen). The dishes, made with the island’s three great seasonings (salt, soy sauce, and olive oil) are gentle and pure in taste, and bring smiles to the faces of everyone who tries them.
Back to Puzzle-Solving
Having filled our stomachs with delicious food, it was time to return to puzzle-solving. We managed to solve all four puzzles, returned to the start and got the final key to the iron tower.
What awaited us inside was nothing short of amazing!
I will not spoil the surprise for you. Besides, only those who solve all four puzzles by themselves are worthy of beholding the secrets of the tower. You have to try for yourself. Good luck! 😉
Address: Tonosho, Shozu District, Kagawa Prefecture
Address: 405 Tonosho, Shozu District, Kagawa Prefecture
Open: 10:00 – 18:00
Closed: Wednesdays (Open on national holidays & during the Setouchi Triennale)
Address: 398 Tonosho, Shozu District, Kagawa Prefecture
Open: 11:00 – 14:00 (15:00 – 18:00: Takeout only)
Closed: Wednesdays (Open on national holidays)
Photo-contest hashtag: #21mazetown
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Daisuke Chiba
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Daisuke Chiba / Photo-writer I was born in 1985 in Miyoshi City, Tokushima Prefecture, and now live in Tokushima City. After graduating university, I worked at a publishing company as an editor for various mooks, and in April 2014 I went freelance. I work as a photographer, copy-writer and editor, but also do product development and other stuff as well. If anyone needs me, I can do anything! Except, in spite of my being from Tokushima, dancing - I’m really bad at dancing Awa Odori!
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