Top choice in Kagawa Prefecture

One of the most beautiful gardens in the country, Ritsurin-kōen dates from the mid-1600s and took more than a century to complete. Designed as a walking garden for the enjoyment of the daimyō (regional lord), the park winds around a series of ponds, tearooms, bridges and islands. To the west, Shiun-zan (Mt Shiun) forms an impressive backdrop to the garden. The classic view of Engetsu-kyō bridge with the mountain in the background is one of the finest in Japan.

Enclosed by the garden are a number of interesting sights, including Sanuki Folkcraft Museum, which displays local crafts dating back to the Tokugawa dynasty. There are a number of teahouses in the park, including 17th-century Kikugetsu-tei, where you can sip matcha with a traditional sweet and enjoy various garden tableaux from the tatami rooms. You can also try the lovely thatched-roof Higurashi-tei, which dates from 1898.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Kagawa Prefecture attractions

1. Ritsurin-kōen East Gate

0.03 MILES

The East Gate to Ritsurin-kōen is a beautiful place to start a walking course through the garden.

2. Sanuki Folkcraft Museum

0.05 MILES

This museum in Ritsurin-kōen displays local crafts, household goods, furniture and roof tiles in its four halls, dating back to the Tokugawa dynasty.

3. Ritsurin-kōen North Gate

0.21 MILES

The North Gate to Ritsurin-kōen is nearest to the Ritsurinkōen-kitaguchi Station on the JR Kotoku line.

4. Takamatsu City Museum of Art

1.01 MILES

This impressive inner-city gallery is testament to Takamatsu's quality art scene. The light and spacious refitting of a former Bank of Japan building is a…

5. Takamatsu-jō

1.43 MILES

The site of Takamatsu's castle now forms delightful Tamamo-kōen, a park where the walls and seawater moat survive, along with several of the original…

6. Shikoku-mura

3.71 MILES

About 500m north of Yashima station, Shikoku-mura is an excellent village museum that houses old buildings transported here from all over Shikoku and…

7. Temple 84: Yashima-ji

3.75 MILES

Yashima-ji, Temple 84 of the 88, sits atop the tabletop mountain of Yashima, to the east of Takamatsu. This was the site of a decisive battle between the…

8. Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum


Born in Los Angeles to a Japanese poet and an American writer, Noguchi (1904–1988) set up a studio and residence here in 1970. Today the complex is filled…