Ritsurin Garden: A Place Not to Miss When Sightseeing in Kagawa & 5 Reasons to Visit Early in the Morning!

Accompanied by the comment, “It’s worth traveling all the way”, in Takamatsu there is a sightseeing spot that received high praise in a famous French travel guide!

Ritsurin Garden, which has been given national recognition as a Special Place of Scenic Beauty, is located not too far from the bustling city center.

Though referred to in Japanese as a “koen” which means ‘park’, in English it’s called a ‘garden’.


For walks in the garden, we recommend mornings after all! And especially early mornings! The early bird truly catches the worm, and the reasons for that are?

Reason No.1: You can take photographs that are as beautiful as paintings

You don’t see any tourists in Ritsurin Garden in the morning, which means you can enjoy uninterrupted views of the garden’s charms from numerous angles.

This one, for example.

From the pond side you can see the Sukiya-style teahouse, Kikugetsu-tei, and the maple tree island floating on Nanko pond. During autumn it is known for its bright red autumn foliage.

And when Ritsurin Garden is mentioned, this is THE photograph!


It’s a shot of the west view taken from the best spot within the garden, Hiraihou.
The best time to arrive is before 9am when there are only a few people walking around.

Reason No.2: You can catch a glimpse of a face loved by locals

Despite there being no tourists in Ritsurin Garden, it doesn’t really mean that there is no one around.

From early morning, neighborhood residents stroll around the garden enjoying flowers of the season, and a group of elderly people exercise raising their voices together.

With 6 ponds, 13 artificial hills and the 200-meter Mt. Shiun in the background, the garden is the size of 16 Tokyo domes.

In a place like this you can bathe in sunlight and refresh your body – the best kind of morning activity. Many people may greet you, so don’t forget to return the greetings!

Reason No.3: You can monopolize your favorite scenery

As the garden scenery appears to change in front of your eyes, it is said that there is a new view for each step.

Taking time to enjoy such numerous highlights is the privilege of early birds. From Fuyo-ho hill you can see down to Hokko pond and the vermillion Bairinkyo Bridge.


Next is an old stone arrangement that is said to have been the start of Ritsurin Garden.


Reflected in the water, the stones on the hill are beautiful and quite a recommended sight.

If you sit down to relax and gaze at the new greens bathing in the morning light, it’s easy to forget the flow of time.

Reason No.4: You can take a peek at the skills of the garden management professionals

Starting with landscaping by a powerful clan in the late 16th century, to landscape gardening led by Sanuki’s feudal lords, 11 generations of Matsuhira family feudal lords from 1642 until the Meiji Restoration led the renovations of the garden.

Even after Ritsurin Garden was opened as a public prefectural garden, numerous people from generation to generation have maintained its appearance.


In the early morning you can see from close by the careful work done by the garden personnel sweeping and cleaning, pruning and patrolling around the garden interior.

The special characteristic of these Hakomatsu (Box Pine Trees), which can only be found in Ritsurin Garden, is their complex intertwined shapes.

These branches are so splendid because human hands have uninterruptedly tended to them for over 300 years.

Reason No.5: If you take the early morning ferry to Takamatsu you can use your time well

Looking at the brochure, you may be surprised to learn the opening times of RItsurin Garden. From April to September, believe it or not, you can enter the garden from 5.30 in the morning!

When coming to Takamatsu on a trip, there may be many people who start early for a tour of udon noodles?


Particularly for people arriving on ferries from the Osaka and Kobe direction after 5am, try heading directly to Ritsurin Garden. I’m sure you won’t regret it.

Ritsurin Garden
URL: http://ritsuringarden.jp/ (Japanese)
URL: http://ritsuringarden.jp/en.Top/en.top.html (English)
Tourism Office: 1 -20-16 Ritsurin-cho, Takamatsu city, Kagawa prefecture
Tourism Office Tel: 087-833-7411
Open: All year round
Admission: Adults JPY410, Children JPY170 (Group pricing and annual passes available)

Train: 20-minutes walk from JR Ritsurin Station, 3-minutes walk from JR Ritsurin Koen Kitaguchi Station, 10-minutes walk from Kotoden Ritsurin Koen Station
Bus: 1-minute walk from Kotoden Bus Ritsurin Koen Mae Bus Stop, Express Bus Ritsurin Koen Mae – right in front of the bus stop
Car: 20-minutes from Takamatsu-Nishi Highway interchange, 15-minutes from Takamatsu-Chuo interchange (tolled parking area available in the vicinity)
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Madoka Hori


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Written by

Madoka Hori

Madoka Hori

Madoka Hori / Photo-writer Entrepreneurial translator/writer living in Hyogo. As a licensed English tour guide, she occasionally takes tourists to beautiful destinations such as Kobe, Himeji, Okayama, Kyoto, and Osaka and her clients have never got lost so far. On Setouchi Finder, as one of the original team members, she enjoys taking photos and sharing her favorite hidden gems. Private Photo Blog http://riderv328.tumblr.com Twitter https://twitter.com/Riderv328


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