The abiding impression of Ritsurin Garden is of pine trees and water. Its six ponds and thirteen hills are dominated by over 1,400 pine trees of the most dramatic size and shapes. In the warmer months, their aroma is very much in evidence too. In addition to its pines, Ritsurin is notable for its beautiful buildings, and the way that it incorporates nearby Mt. Shiun as part of its design.
Ritsurin is one of the three most renowned gardens in Japan. In 1625, the feudal lord of Takamatsu, Ikoma Takatoshi established Ritsurin by creating a garden around the South Pond using Mt. Shiun as a backdrop. Then in 1642, Matsudaira Yorishige took over the area and continued its construction. The work was completed by the fifth Lord Yoritaka in 1745 after 100 years of improvements and extensions made by the successive lords. With the end of feudalism, the Meiji government designated Ritsurin as a prefectural garden and opened it to the public in 1875.
To see everything that Ritsurin has to offer takes half a day or more. Simply strolling among its many paths is rewarding enough, but taking tea in the Kikugetsu-tei pavillion extending into the South Pond, and having a punt around the pond are well-worth doing too. The exhibits in the Commerce and Industry Promotion Hall and Sanuki Folk Craft Museum are also not to be missed. Ladies can also dress in a kimono for their visit to the garden.
In addition to the pines, there are may seasonal plants so there’s something to see throughout the year. In winter, you may be lucky enough to enjoy the garden with snow.
Name in Japanese: 栗林公園
Pronunciation: ritsurin kōen
Address: Ritsurincho 1-20-16, Takamatsu, Kagawa 760-0073 Kagawa Prefecture