Continuing our look at the top 5 Japanese gardens, this week we’ll take a stroll through the city of Takamatsu main attraction – The Ritsurin Koen
Ritsurin Park located on the north of Shikoku island was a beautiful summer retreat for the Matsudaira family. The park dates back to the early 17th century with work being completed by the Fifth Lord Matsudaira Yoritaka in 1745. With these finishing touches, Ritsurin was completed. It now had over 100 years of improvements and extensions made by the Matsudiara family.
One interesting fact about the Matsudaira family was the history of Lord Motoyasu, who changed his name to Tokugawa Ieyasu who we know, of course, as the famous Shogun of Japan.
“Ritsurin” means “a chestnut wood.” Legend says that the garden was so named because the whole neighborhood had been covered with chestnut woods before the garden was built – Japan Atlas
Finally, in 1953, the park was designated a Japanese National Treasure.
A Walk Through the Park
Ritsurin Koen features a wide variety of delights including walking paths, lakes, bridges, a folk art museum and an Edo Period (1640) teahouse.
The garden is divided into two parts with a traditional southern garden and more modern northern garden.
One of the highlights are sure to be the Black pine trees that are carefully cultivated and trimmed into geometrical shapes and figures.
How to Get There
Ritsurin Park can be found on the north end of Shikoku island in the city of Takamatsu. To get to Takamatsu you can take the JR Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen from Tokyo to Okayama Station and transfer to the JR Marine Liner rapid train to Takamatsu.
There is Bus and Ferry service available between Kobe and Takamatsu.
And here’s a link to an interactive map of Takamatsu.
Photo Credits – Splash image by: kamoda, Red Bridge by: neepster, Mountains and Bridge with Mountains by: luisete, Cherry Blossoms by: Robert M. Garcia, Teahouse by: whitney.barclay, Heron and Koi Pond by: Momonal
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