Japan Atlas: Historic Sites 
Ritsurin Park

Location: Takamatsu City, Kagawa Pref.

 Area: 750,000 sq m (185 acres)



Graceful Garden Offers More Than 60 Different Views 

Ritsurin Park in Takamatsu City, Kagawa Prefecture, is one of the most famous gardens created by feudal lords* in the Edo Period (1603-1868). There are 6 ponds, 13 hills, and 15 bridges in the garden, designed to offer a great variety of scenery: strolling through the gardens, there are more than 60 different views. The garden is best known for its beautiful pine groves. The total area is approximately 750,000 square meters (185 acres). 

"Ritsurin" means "a chestnut wood." Legend says that the garden was so named because the whole neighborhood had been covered with chestnut woods before the garden was built. The foundation of the garden dates back to 1625, when Takatoshi Ikoma, a feudal lord of the area at that time, built his villa on this site. About 50 years later, Yorishige Matsudaira, who was transferred here as a new lord, started remodeling the garden, and the generations of the Matsudaira Family continued reconstruction work over next 100 years. The northern half of the garden was originally used as a duck-shooting ground for the feudal lords' pleasure, and was remodeled again into its present form in the early 20th century. 

* "Feudal lords" in Japan were called "daimyo," and were rulers of a politically and economically independent local domain (i.e. "han") maintained during the Edo Period. 

Photo: The tea house in the Ritsurin Park (Kagawa Prefecture).

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