city, Kagawa ken (prefecture), Shikoku, Japan, on the coast of the Inland Sea. Founded as a castle town in 1597, Marugame flourished from the Tokugawa period (1603-1867) to the early Meiji period (1868-1912) as a sea terminal for pilgrims coming from the Kyoto and Osaka areas to worship at the Kompira Shrine in Kotohira, located about 10 miles (16 km) south of Marugame. The port's importance declined with the opening of the railway between Matsuyama and Takamatsu (stopping at Kotohira) in 1889 and the more recent development of bus and air service linking Kotohira with major cities. Marugame occupies the centre of an alluvial plain that produces rice and barley under a well-organized irrigation system. The city's industries produce chemicals, textiles, fans, and salt. Large coastal salt fields were reclaimed from the sea to stimulate further industrialization in the early 1980s. Pop. (2005) 110,085.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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