Japanese Gardens

A boat in a quest for treasures

By arnaud In Stopovers

During your cruise you will have a chance to visit one of the oldest and largest Japanese gardens of Japan. Ritsurin Park, created under Edo, is indeed one of the major attractions of the city of Takamatsu. Japanese gardens are designed like master paintings and aimed to contemplation more just visual pleasure. Discovering a Japanese garden is to feel a subtle blend of spirituality and wild nature, a sense of tranquility and serenity.

Ritsurin Park

The Ritsurin garden (栗林 公園, Ritsurin Park) is a historic garden in the city of Takamatsu, which originated in the early seventeenth century. This is one of the most beautiful gardens in Japan, the largest to be awarded the Outstanding Landscaping label. Adjoining Mount Shiun (紫雲山), the garden features varied and picturesque landscapes dotted with ponds, wooded hills, bridges and pavilions. It is divided into a Japanese style garden in the south and a Western-style garden in the north.


Construcution of the Ritsurin garden began with the southern basin around 1625 under the leadership of Ikoma Takatoshi (生 駒 高俊), fourth daimyo of Sanuki. The Ikoma clan was driven away from Takamatsu in 1640, and the province of Sanuki was divided into several domains.

In 1642, the domain of Takamatsu (高 松 藩) was attributed to Matsudaira Yorishige (松 平 頼 重), a grandson of Ieyasu Tokugawa. For over a century, five generations of daimyos of the Matsudaira clan worked on the expansion and beautification of the garden, landscaping ponds and wooded hills, until it took its final structure in 1745.



The Ritsurin garden was used as a residence of the Matsudairas for 228 years until 1870. Indeed, shortly after the overthrow of the Tokugawa shogunate, It became a possession of the Meiji government. He then became the Municipal Garden of the city of Takamatsu and was opened to the public on March 16th of the year 8 of Meiji (1875).

Its appearance, however, continued to evolve, especially in its northern part, which is now close to a Western botanical garden. On March 8 of the year 11 of Taisho (1922), the Ritsurin garden earned the label of “picturesque site”. On March 31 of the year 28 of Showa (1953), the Agency for Cultural Affairs awarded It the title of “outstanding landscape” of Japan. Today It is the largest garden of Japan to carry this label.

Official website
Map and brochure in English