Ritsurin Garden, Takamatsu, Kagawa, Japan

When we entered Ritsurin Garden, Takamatsu, Kagawa, Japan, we discovered a field trip of local elementary school children whose assignment was to sketch their interpretations of the Saku

When we entered Ritsurin Garden, Takamatsu, Kagawa, Japan, we discovered a field trip of local elementary school children whose assignment was to sketch their interpretations of the Sakura (Cherry Blossoms) in full bloom

 

A flourishing castle town during the Edo period (1603-1867), Takamatsu today is the capital of Japan’s smallest prefecture, Kagawa.  Although the feudal castle (one of just three seaside citadels in Japan) was destroyed during the Meiji Period, its venerable landscape garden, Ritsurin Koen (Ritsurin Garden) is one of the nation’s most celebrated.  The workshop and part-time home of the late Isamu Noguchi, a Japanese-American sculptor, designer, and architect famous for his work with wood, is also nearby.  The nearby islands, particularly Naoshima, are the home to strikingly designed modern art museums that are as interesting to see as the contemporary art they house.

 

We found that Japanese of all ages enjoy and celebrate the short Sakura season which marks the end of winter and the arrival of spring and a revival of life and spirits, Ritsurin Garden,

We found that Japanese of all ages enjoy and celebrate the short Sakura season which marks the end of winter and the arrival of spring and a revival of life and spirits, Ritsurin Garden, Takamatsu, Kagawa, Japan

 

Ritsurin Garden, a national “Special Place of Scenic Beauty”, is a superb Japanese cultural asset that conveys the characteristics of the daimyo strolling gardens that were typically seen in the 17th and 18th centuries.  A daimyo strolling garden is a type of traditional Japanese garden in which ponds and hills are expertly constructed over a vast tract of land.  Visitors can enjoy the garden’s space as they leisurely walk around. Ritsurin Garden is celebrated as one of Japan’s largest and most beautiful pine gardens with approximately 1,400 well-tended trees and floral species blooming throughout the year.  Construction began in 1625 and took over a century to complete, resulting in a delightful landscape of 13 rounded hills and six ponds linked by pathways and elegant arching bridges, sprawling 185 acres / 75 hectares.  Ritsurin Garden opened to the public on March 16, 1875, and received France’s Michelin Guide’s highest rating of three stars in 2009.

 

One of the school children proudly let me photograph the initial part of his pencil sketch of Sakura, Ritsurin Garden, Takamatsu, Kagawa, Japan

One of the school children proudly let me photograph the initial part of his pencil sketch of Sakura, Ritsurin Garden, Takamatsu, Kagawa, Japan

 

Sakura (Cherry Blossoms) just after full bloom, with some petals now forming a “snow blanket” on the ground as the wind began to blow the mature blossoms off the trees, Ritsurin Gard

Sakura (Cherry Blossoms) just after full bloom, with some petals now forming a “snow blanket” on the ground as the wind began to blow the mature blossoms off the trees, Ritsurin Garden, Takamatsu, Kagawa, Japan

 

Sakura reflected in the Fuyo-sho (lotus) pond, Ritsurin Garden, Takamatsu, Kagawa, Japan; note that in the summer about 1,000 lotuses can be seen in bloom covering the pond_s surface

Sakura reflected in the Fuyo-sho (lotus) pond, Ritsurin Garden, Takamatsu, Kagawa, Japan; note that in the summer about 1,000 lotuses can be seen in bloom covering the pond’s surface

 

A small island in Gun_o-chi pond, Ritsurin Garden, Takamatsu, Kagawa, Japan

A small island in Gun’o-chi pond, Ritsurin Garden, Takamatsu, Kagawa, Japan

 

Sakura reflected in Gun_o-chi pond, Ritsurin Garden, Takamatsu, Kagawa, Japan

Sakura reflected in Gun’o-chi pond, Ritsurin Garden, Takamatsu, Kagawa, Japan

 

Construction of Ritsurin Garden, Takamatsu, Kagawa, Japan, began in 1625 and took over a century to complete; the hills and ponds are very important components in the overall beauty and

Construction of Ritsurin Garden, Takamatsu, Kagawa, Japan, began in 1625 and took over a century to complete; the hills and ponds are very important components in the overall beauty and serenity of the garden

 

A traditional wooden walking bridge at Ritsurin Garden, Takamatsu, Kagawa, Japan, leads to Shofuda, a landscaped hill built of many stones piled together

A traditional wooden walking bridge at Ritsurin Garden, Takamatsu, Kagawa, Japan, leads to Shofuda, a landscaped hill built of many stones piled together

 

A small group of ladies out for a boat ride on Nanko pond in the South Garden of Ritsurin Garden, Takamatsu, Kagawa, Japan

A small group of ladies out for a boat ride on Nanko pond in the South Garden of Ritsurin Garden, Takamatsu, Kagawa, Japan

 

A bride and groom in Ritsurin Garden, Takamatsu, Kagawa, Japan, for their wedding photographs were kind enough to let me also capture their image

A bride and groom in Ritsurin Garden, Takamatsu, Kagawa, Japan, for their wedding photographs were kind enough to let me also capture their image

 

The wedding couple posed upon the most photographed bridge in Ritsurin Garden, Takamatsu, Kagawa, Japan, on Nanko Pond – this bridge is one of the iconic images of Japanese gardens

The wedding couple posed upon the most photographed bridge in Ritsurin Garden, Takamatsu, Kagawa, Japan, on Nanko Pond – this bridge is one of the iconic images of Japanese gardens

 

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