3 Star Michelin Tour Guide
One of Takamatsu (in Kagawa Prefecture, Shikoku) top attraction is Ritsurin Garden, the Japanese style garden built by the local feudal lord during the Edo Period. It also gained more popularity after the garden was awarded three stars as a place worth visiting by Michelin Tour Guide in 2009.
Chrysanthemum Means Autumn In Japan
There are Chrysanthemum flowers widely decorated in front of the park, garden or even home in autumn. According to my host mother in Japan, Chrysanthemum also means longevity. Chrysanthemum flower also is known as “kiku” in Japanese is the symbol of autumn in Japan. In fact, every season there is a flower representing it, such as sakura/cherry blossom in spring and ume/plum flower in winter.
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6 ponds & 13 hills
This park also called as Daimyo Garden which consists of 6 ponds and 13 hills with Mt Shiun in the backdrop. Daimyo refers to great lords in Japan.
At the entrance, you are welcome to rent kimono costume and walk around in the garden and shoot pictures with the Daimyo Garden which only allowed to enter by the elite in ancient time.
Shoko Shoreikan (Commerce and Industry Promotion Hall)
Not far from the entrance, you see Shoko Shoreikan, which is an information hall for Ritsurin Garden’s history and local traditional crafts.
Yellow Cap Students
I spotted a few groups of school children with yellow hats having an excursion in Ritsurin Garden. This is one of the most recognizable features for primary school children. The yellow color usually is for the first grader as yellow can stand out more and boost public awareness to be extra careful when they walk or cross the street.
Best time to visit – Spring & Autumn
Cherry trees are planted in the north garden and south garden. In spring, the park is famous for cherry blossoms. Trees at the park and the scenery of autumn leaves on Mt. Shiun are worth seeing in autumn but we are here too early so we missed the red maple leaves. Mid of November would be great timing to see the red maple leaves in Ritsurin Garden.
A Baby Waterfall in Ritsurin Garden
Red Bridge in Ritsurin Garden
Pine Tree Garden
Ritsurin garden has the word “chestnuts”/Ritsu 栗 in its name, but you see more no chestnuts and a large number of pine tree in the garden. The over 1,400 pines attract visitors to the garden year round and make Ritsurin Garden Japan’s foremost pine garden.
A beautiful cloud was seen in the reflection of the lake
You can experience the tea ceremony with the green powder matcha here with a piece of Japanese wagashi/Japanese traditional snacks. Additional fees are needed.
Wasen Boat Ride
Wasen Boat Ride is another way to see Ritsurin Garden with a different perspective from walking on the path in the garden. Passengers are all seen wearing the traditional straw hat which makes the whole place even prettier.
Ticket for the boat ride :
- 610 yen/USD 5.40 for adult and 300 yen/USD 2.70 for children.
Dango on Fire @ 300 Yen /USD 2.70
Dango on the stick is grilled over on small fire sold in the little souvenir shop in Ritsurin Garden. There are 3 flavors, the original is white color, pink is sakura flavor and the green is yomogi (mugwort) grass flavor.
“Anko paste”/red bean paste are added on top before serving.
Entrance ticket :
- Adults 410 yen (USD 3.65), Children (Elementary & High school) 170 yen (USD 1.50). Even you are a foreigner you are entitled to elementary or high school price if you are student.
Parking in Ritsurin
There are parking lots outside Ritsurin Garden. 100 yen /USD 0.90 for 25 min.
- Before you leave, find the pay meter.
- Check the car space number – my is number 22 (refer to picture below)
- Key in number 22 in the parking machine
- The machine will tell you how much to pay
- Most machines accept 1,000 note and coins.
- Get your change or receipts if you want it to be printed out
- Go to your car space and make sure the flapper at the bottom is down before your drive.
- Drive away promptly as you don’t want to have the flapper up again, some machine has their flapper time-based.
Final thoughts :
Ritsurin Garden is Japan’s largest Cultural Property Garden that has been handed down since 400 years ago. It is leisure to walk around these ponds and hills which were constructed beautifully. A wasen boat ride is another interesting way to explore Ritsurin Garden, you got to see a totally new perspective from walking the park’s path. No wonder this place is named as a Special Place of Scenic Beauty by the Japanese government.
If I was here two weeks later, the whole backdrop would be even more stunning with the maple leaves turning yellow and red.