17 October 2011
The city of Takamatsu on the island of Shikoku is the location of Ritsurin Koen, one of Japan’s largest and most impressive formal gardens. It was begun in 1625 by the feudal lord Takatoshi Ikoma and his successors continued to refine over the subsequent centuries. After the Meiji restoration it was made into a public park.
It is an unusually large garden and you need to allow at least 2 hours if you want to see all or most of it.
The open area on the right was used during feudal times for mounted archery practice.
There are a number of teahouses in the garden. The largest is the Kikugetsu-tei (Scooping Moon House), suitable for entertaining a party of visiting dignitaries.
For a modest fee you too can sip bitter tea and nibble on sweet pastries surrounded by the beauties of nature.
(“Modest fee” is relative I guess. Let’s just say it cost as much as lunch.)
The Sanuki Folk Craft Museum on the grounds features the work of local craftsmen, mostly ceramics, wicker and glassblowing.
The garden’s unique hakomatsu (box pines) are shaped over many years using bonsai techniques.
All posts from this trip.