Ritsurin Koen is a landscape garden in Takamatsu City, built by the local feudal lords during the early Edo Period.
Considered one of the best gardens in Japan, it is often suggested that Ritsurin Koen deserves a spot on the list of the "three most beautiful gardens of Japan" alongside Kanazawa's Kenrokuen, Mito's Kairakuen, and Okayama's Korakuen.
The spacious park features many ponds, hills, historic trees and beautiful pavilions divided into a Japanese style garden in the south and western style garden in the north. The gardens are set in front of wooded Mt. Shiun which serves as a wonderful background and great example of borrowed scenery.
Inside the park are a number of facilities including a folk museum, shops and a few resthouses where you can take a break and enjoy some refreshments amidst the beauty of the garden. Of particular note is the Kikugetsu-tei teahouse in the southwest part of the gardens where, for a small fee, you can enter and enjoy some tea on its verandas overlooking the ponds.
How to get there
Ritsurin Koen lies two kilometers south of JR Takamatsu Station and Takamatsu Castle. The Shopping Arcades run nearly the entire way from there to the garden. Alternatively, it is most easily accessed by Kotoden or JR train:
By Kotoden: take a train along the Kotohira Line from Takamatsu-Chikko Station to Ritsurinkoen Station (7 minutes, 180 yen, 4 trains per hour). From there, it is a ten minute walk to the park's main entrance.
By JR: take a local train from JR Takamatsu Station in direction of Tokushima to Ritsurinkoen-Kitaguchi Station (5 minutes, 200 yen, 2 trains per hour). From there, the park's north gate can be reached in a five minute walk.
Hours and Fees
Hours: January: 7:00 to 17:00
February: 7:00 to 17:30
March: 6:30 to 18:00
April and May: 5:30 to 18:30
June to August: 5:30 to 19:00
September: 5:30 to 18:30
October: 6:00 to 17:30
November: 6:30 to 17:00
December: 7:00 to 17:30
Closed: No closing days
Admission: 400 yen