Splendid Japanese Landscape Gardening
Ritsurin Koen, located in the city of Takamatsu, is considered one of japan‘s finest gardens. With its stunning natural beauty and meticulous design, it is a must-visit destination for those seeking to immerse themselves in the tranquility and elegance of traditional Japanese gardens.
The garden is situated against the backdrop of Mt. Shiun, providing a picturesque setting for visitors to explore. As you wander through Ritsurin Koen, you will encounter six ponds and 13 landscaped hills, each carefully crafted to create a harmonious and ever-changing scenery. The garden is designed in such a way that the view transforms with every step you take, offering a sense of discovery and wonder at every turn.
One of the highlights of Ritsurin Koen is its seasonal beauty. Bursting with an array of vibrant flowers, the garden comes alive during cherry blossom season and autumn, when the foliage turns into a rich tapestry of colors. To enhance the experience, special light-up events are held in the evening, allowing visitors to admire the cherry blossoms and fall colors in a magical atmosphere. Unlike some of the more popular gardens in Japan, Ritsurin Koen offers a serene and peaceful environment, away from the crowds, making it an ideal destination for those seeking a more intimate and contemplative garden experience.
There are several activities and attractions within Ritsurin Koen that should not be missed. One of them is sipping matcha tea in tranquil surroundings. In the heart of the garden, there is a traditional teahouse called Kikugetsutei, where visitors can sit on tatami flooring and enjoy a cup of powdered green tea while overlooking the beautiful pond. This quintessential Japanese teatime experience allows you to immerse yourself in the tranquility of the garden and appreciate its beauty from a different perspective.
Another not-to-be-missed experience is viewing the gardens from a traditional wasen boat. These guided boat rides offer a unique opportunity to see Ritsurin Koen from a different angle, as you glide through the calm waters of the ponds. It is a chance to relax and soak in the serene atmosphere while appreciating the garden’s beauty from a new perspective.
For those who appreciate art and craftsmanship, a visit to the Sanuki Folk Craft Museum is highly recommended. The museum showcases a variety of local folk crafts, including ceramics and wood products. It is a fascinating insight into the traditional skills and techniques that have been passed down through generations in the Kagawa region.
Ritsurin Koen also offers several scenic viewing points for visitors to enjoy. One of the best vistas can be found from Hiraiho Hill, which is designed in the style of Mt. Fuji. As you ascend the hill, you will be rewarded with a breathtaking panoramic view of the garden and its surroundings. Another notable area is Hanashobuen, home to approximately 3,700 irises. The garden boasts a stunning display of these beautiful flowers, along with a collection of over 1,000 pruned pines. Among them, the Neagari Goyomatsu white Pine stands out as the most famous. This particular tree was originally a bonsai tree and was presented as a gift from the Tokugawa shogun in 1833.
To fully appreciate the beauty of Ritsurin Koen, it is recommended to visit early in the morning. The garden opens its gates at 7 a.m., providing a unique opportunity to witness the mist hanging over the ponds. This ethereal sight adds a touch of magic to the garden’s atmosphere and creates a sense of tranquility that is truly captivating. After enjoying the misty morning scenery, a visit to the Hanazono-tei teahouse is a must. This teahouse offers a hot bowl of morning porridge, a traditional Japanese breakfast dish. However, reservations are required, so it is advisable to plan ahead.
Getting to Ritsurin Koen is relatively easy. The garden is located approximately two kilometers from Takamatsu Station. Visitors can choose to walk most of the way via a covered shopping arcade, which provides a pleasant and convenient route. Alternatively, there are train options available as well. From Takamatsu-Chikko Station, you can take the Kotoden train to Ritsurin Koen Station, which is a 10-minute walk from the garden’s main entrance. Another option is to take the JR Kotoku Line from Takamatsu Station to Ritsurinkoen-Kitaguchi, which will bring you to the garden’s northern entrance in about five minutes on foot.
In conclusion, Ritsurin Koen is a masterpiece of Japanese landscape gardening. Its meticulous design, stunning natural surroundings, and seasonal beauty make it a must-visit destination for garden enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. The garden offers a tranquil escape from the bustling city life, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the serenity and beauty of traditional Japanese gardens. Whether you choose to sip matcha tea in the teahouse, take a boat ride on the ponds, or simply wander through the meticulously manicured landscapes, Ritsurin Koen offers a truly enchanting experience that will leave a lasting impression. So, if you have the opportunity, do not miss the chance to explore this splendid Japanese treasure.
Address And Maps Location:
1-20-16 Ritsurin-cho, Takamatsu-shi, Kagawa-ken