Ritsurin Park 栗林公園
Splendid Japanese landscape gardening
Considered one of Japan's finest gardens, Ritsurin Koen is located in the city of Takamatsu . Set against the backdrop of Mt. Shiun, the garden features six ponds and 13 landscaped hills. The garden is designed so that the scenery around you changes with each step you take.
Bursting with seasonal flowers, special light-up events take place for viewing the cherry blossoms and fall colors in the evening. In fall, visitors are treated to the rich and vibrant hues of autumnal foliage. Ritsurin Koen is a must for those wanting to experience a traditional Japanese garden without the crowds of some of the other famous gardens.
- Sipping matcha tea in tranquil surroundings
- Enjoying the scenic beauty of old pines
- Viewing the gardens from a traditional wasen boat
- Glimpsing Nanko Pond through the morning mist
How to Get There
Ritsurin Koen lies roughly two kilometers from Takamatsu Station. Visitors can walk most of the way via a covered shopping arcade. You can also reach the gardens by train.
By train, take the Kotoden train from Takamatsu-Chikko Station to Ritsurin Koen Station; the garden's main entrance is approximately a 10-minute walk. Alternatively, take the JR Kotoku Line from Takamatsu Station to Ritsurinkoen-Kitaguchi. You can reach the garden's northern entrance in about five minutes on foot.
Gardens fit for a lord
A private retreat for generations since landscaping began in 1642 under the instructions of the local feudal lords, Ritsurin Koen opened to the public in 1875. Maps explaining the backstory behind specific trees and also Kikugetsutei teahouse are also available at garden entrances.
A quintessential Japanese teatime experience
For a small admission fee, visitors can enter the Kikugetsutei teahouse. Sit down on traditional tatami flooring and enjoy drinking powdered green tea, while overlooking the pond.
Make waves across the pond
Enjoy the gardens like a feudal lord and relax on a guided traditional wasen boat ride. Afterward, stop by the Sanuki Folk Craft Museum and learn about the local folk crafts on display, such as ceramic and wood products.
Points of view
There are several scenic viewing points around the garden, but one of the best vistas is from Hiraiho Hill designed in the style of Mt. Fuji. This landscaped hill is one of the highest points in the gardens.
Also worth a visit is Hanashobuen, home to around 3,700 irises. The garden has many beautiful trees, including over 1,000 pruned pines. The most famous of these is the Neagari Goyomatsu white Pine, originally a bonsai tree presented as a gift from the Tokugawa shogun in 1833.
A top tip for visitors to Ritsurin Koen is to go early in the morning. You can enter the garden at 7 a.m., the best time to see the mist hanging over the ponds. Then, stop by the Hanazono-tei teahouse for a hot bowl of morning porridge (reservations required).
* The information on this page may be subject to change due to COVID-19.