These are some of the top spots in Mannou as recommend by Jake, an American who has lived in Mannou for 10 years.
Sanuki Mannou Park
Sanuki Mannou Park is one the great state-run parks of all Japan. It is quite large at over 3.5 km2, meaning there is plenty of space to throw a frisbee around, enjoy a nice long walk, or rent a bicycle on-site and cruise the great cycling course. Above all, though, I love the park for its natural beauty. Seemingly no matter the season, there are wonderful flowers in bloom. (The tulips in April and the cosmos in early October are personal favorites.) Furthermore, between Shoryu waterfall, the park's rolling hills, several ponds, and panoramic views of Mannou Lake, the natural landscape has a lot to offer. The nighttime illimitation the park puts on each winter is another highlight. On a final note, the park also includes multiple areas with first-rate playground equipment, making it a fun place to head to with children in tow.
Located close to Mannou Lake, Shinrin Park is a spacious park that can be entered free of charge. If offers plenty of space to throw a ball around as well as a large playground for kids. The real highlight in my opinion; however, are the park's numerous cherry trees. I have done cherry blossom viewing all around Japan, and I must say that winding, gently-descending road within the park makes for some of the very best cherry-blossom viewing one could ask for. When the trees are in full bloom, it is an almost other-worldly experience.
Mannou Lake is probably the top spot of natural beauty as far as the town of Mannou is concerned. Fortunately, it is lined with walking/cycling trails that allow one to take in the myriad great views. My friend commented that the area reminds of the rustic beauty of the United States' Pacific Northwest, and I would have to agree. Right next to the parking area there is wonderful little udon restaurant, as well. And what visit to Kagawa could be complete without a hearty bowl of udon?
Sunflower Village (Himawari no Sato) Mannou
In the summer months, the sunflower fields of Mannou are some of the very finest you'll find anywhere. There are food stalls set up in the area, so you can also grab a bite to eat as you take in the seemingly never-ending expanse of sunflowers. If you're a photographer, you'll be in heaven—pay special attention to the train tacks that pass through the fields, as a shot that combines the flowers and a passing train has the potential to be something really special.
Jake Jung is a freelance Japanese-to-English translator specializing in anime and manga. He was born and raised in Michigan, USA. He moved to Mannou in 2010, where he lives with his wife (a native of the town) and their two children.