This garden is a labor of love that took generations to complete. Although it is not in Japan’s traditional top three, it is considered to be “must-see” by the premier international guide books. Ritsurin Garden is situated in central Takamatsu City and is just a short walk from the Takamatsu Station. The main entrance is a grand stone gate with the name of the garden deeply engraved in Chinese characters.
Like many of the world’s urban gardens, Ritsurin was designed to serve as a retreat. Edo era lords fashioned this expansive 75 hectare paradise into an amazing parallel to nature. Even when viewed from the outside, visitors can immediately get a sense of the there is an immense presence beyond the gates.
Take a slow ride of a traditional Japanese lake boat and see the garden from the most beautiful perspective possible. The emerald green water perfectly compliments the tree line. Night rides are a magical experience as the tops of the trees are subtlely illuminated, perfectly highlighting the colors of the leaves at any time of the year (610 JPY-adults/ 310 JPY -children).
One of the most highly regarded structures in the garden is the Kikugetsu-tei Teahouse. This traditional structure with tatami mat floors and sliding doors, opens up onto Nanko Pond, offering a view fit for a feudal lord.
General admission to the garden is 410 JPY for adults and 170 JPY for children with discounts available for large groups. There are also annual passes and ticketbooks if you are planning multiple visits. Admission is free on January 1st for the new year and March 16th in celebration of the garden’s founding.
Access: Take the Seto Ohashi Line from JR Okayama Station to JR Takamatsu Station. Transfer to the JR Kotoku Line. Take the JR Kotoku Line from JR Takamatsu Station to JR Ritsurin-Koen-Kitaguchi Station. It’s about a 3-4 minute walk from the station.
About the Area
Takamatsu City is the commercial center of Shikoku and has a urban feel that is befitting to the title. Its lovely boulevards and well-developed port area create an ambiance that is truly cosmopolitan.
Must-see spots for visitors include, Ritsurin Garden, Takamatsu Castle, the central shopping arcade and the port area art installations.
Yakuri Station is the entry point to the Yashima district of Takamatsu City, which is well-known for its temple near the summit of the unique and iconic table top-shaped Mt. Yashima. The vista from the mountain is highly-prized and well worth the effort to get there. However, to best appreciate its entire shape, the view from Sunport Takamatsu Symbol Tower is recommended.
Yashima is notable for its eateries, many of which serve the renowned local specialty, udon noodles.
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