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 daimyō's enjoyment, 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. Or try the lovely thatched-roof Higurashi-tei, which dates from 1898.
The easiest way to reach Ritsurin-kōen is by taking the frequent direct bus (¥230, 15 minutes) from JR Takamatsu Station.