Ritsurin Garden is arguably one of the most beautiful gardens in Japan and it has been awarded the highest rating, 3 stars by Michelin’s green guide Japan.
Best Sightseeing Spot in Takamatsu
Ritsurin garden is located in the centre of Takamatsu city and it is without a doubt, the most popular sightseeing place in Takamatsu.
If you ask the locals where to go for sight seeing in Takamatsu, the majority of people would say “Ritsurin Garden”.
A quick history of Ritsurin Garden
It is said that Ritsurin Garden was originally created in the late 16th century.
In 1642, Yorishige Matsudaira began ruling the Takamatsu Domain and inherited the garden.
Since then, the Matsudaira family continued developing and maintaining the garden over 2 centuries, generation after generation.
The Matsudaira clan used Ritsurin Garden as their private retreat for 228 years, over 11 generations, until it became public in late 19th century at the time of Meiji Restoration.
Magnificent pine trees
Along with a variety of seasonal flowers and vegetation, it’s famous for well trimmed 1000 pine trees that have been maintained by seasoned gardeners for over 300 years .
It features 6 ponds and 13 artificial hills to create atmosphere for each feudal lord to enjoy the views of the garden to the fullest.
Ritsurin Garden has been reviewed by a numerous tourists on a number of websites.
So I’d like to give you my personal recommendations about Ritsurin Garden on this page.
Japanese Boat Ride – Wasen（和船）
One of my favorites attractions in Ritsurin Garden is riding on a small Japanese Boat called Wasen because you can enjoy the boat ride the same way as past feudal lords enjoyed it.
The boat takes you around on Nanko Pond – South Pond – for 30 minutes. You also have a guide in a traditional costume to tell you the story of the garden in the Edo Period.
I guess, there is no English guide at the moment but it’s definitely worth it without any explanation. Just soak yourself into the atmosphere of past feudal lord’s hobby.
The boat is for only 6 people but it’s usually not so crowded.P
How to book the boat ride
Go to the east gate and ask staff for the tickets for the boat ride.
They will tell you if there are any seats available for the day or not.
＊The office of the garden says you have to buy the tickets at latest 30 minutes before the boat departure.
I didn’t find the timetable for the boat; the best to way to secure your seats would be to ask at the time you buy your tickets for entry.
Ride Price: 610yen for adults, 300 Yen for children under 15, free for kids under 6.
Kikugetsu Tei Teahouse
Kikugetsu-Tei Teahouse is the largest teahouse in the garden. It was the favorite teahouse for the feudal lords. The wasen boat takes you in front of Kikugetsu-Tei Teahouse too.
Kikugetsu Tei from the inside
Many Japanese tourists don’t know or go past without noticing. But you can have a green tea along with a little Japanese traditional sweets only for 700 Yen.
There’s no need to make a reservation. Just go in the house and ask for a Matcha Tea with a little sweats.
From the inside of the Kikugetsu Tei Teahouse
Why don’t you have a break in the teahouse where the local feudal lords – Matsudaira enjoyed their luxurious time for over 2 centuries, it would be an impressive experience.
Fukiage-Tei – Teahouse
Fukiage-Tei teahouse is located at Nanko(South Pond) on the edge of the garden. It’s a perfect place to take a break because it’s one of the farthest places in the garden.
Hand Made Sanuki Udon with Tempura
There is a sitting area at the end of the teahouse. You can have Hand-made Sanuki Udon or even a proper Japanese Kaiseki course meal if you order in advance.
They also have their own souvenir Sanuki Udon kits, so you can prepare the same taste for your family at home.
View from the inside onto the pond
Charcoal Grilled Mochi
They serve charcoal grilled flavored Mochi(rice cakes) with either miso or sweet bean paste at the front of the house.
Engetsukyo Kyo Bridge
Engetsu-Kyo bridge is on the opposite side of Fukiage-Tei teahouse.If you ride on the wasen boat, it takes you near this bridge.
The mountain you can see at the back of the pond is Mount Shiun. The mountain serves as a perfect backdrop for a variety of views from different spots in the garden.
Cherry Blossoms in Spring
As with other famous gardens in Japan, there are hundreds of cherry trees in the garden and they are in full blossoms in spring time.
It will be very nice to take a lunch box and drinks and do a picnic in the garden. Every year, you see many local people having a Hanami Party in the Garden both in the day time and evening time.
Stroll Around and Find a Beautiful View
Wherever you go in Ritsurin Garden, you find a beautiful scenery like this. If you like Japanese gardens, you will never get bored of the sceneries you find in this garden.
Some people say Ritsurin Garden is better than Korakuen in Okayama or Kenrokuen in Kanazawa, which are one of the three most beautiful gardens in Japan.
Ritsurin-An gift shop（栗林庵）
Before you leave the Ritsurin Garden, don’t forget to check the large gift shop called Ritsurin-An next to the main entrance at the east gate.
There are lots of local crafts, local beers and plum wines, locally produced olives, Sanuki Udon and many other local products from everywhere in Kagawa Prefecture.
How to get there: From Takamatsu central station, it’s only 15minutes by bus, 7minutes by taxi. You can rent a bike at Takamatsu Station and come here within 15 minutes. The garden is very accessible from many locations in Takamatsu.
Opening Hours: Open everyday from dawn to dusk.
More specifically – December, January: 7am-5pm, February: 7am-5:30pm, March: 6:30am-6pm, April, May, September: 5:30am-6:30pm, June, July, August: 5:30am-7:00pm, October: 6:00am-5:30pm, November: 6:30am-5:00pm
Admission: 410 Yen for adults, 170 Yen for kids.