While visiting Takamatsu, Kongo toured the famous Ritsurin Gardens. The garden literally means “chestnut grove garden” and there are plenty of chestnut trees here. It was started by a feudal lord in the early 1600s and it wasn’t finished for 100 years. The garden is a major attraction of the city of Takamatsu and one of the most historic gardens in all of Japan.
It’s a favorite outing for children and these primary school students warmly greeted the monkey with waves and chants of “hello! hello!”
There are more than 1,200 pine trees in this garden and they are all carefully groomed almost like giant bonsai trees. There are red pine, black pine, and a single lone white pine that actually started out as a bonsai and the samurai lord here planted it.
The limbs on the trees are trained to take on fantastical shapes and provide never ending variety and contrast.
Cobbled trails lead through shady chestnut groves. Lakes, streams, and ponds in the garden provide variety and accent the wooded areas.
A Japanese couple was using the park as a setting for and engagement photo shoot and the monkey spied them across a pond at just the right moment. The bright red parasol made a nice reflection in the water.
Many of the pine trees are hundreds of years old and their drooping limbs must be supported with wooden braces. Koi swim in the ponds. Water birds light on little, manmade islands.
It takes a couple of hours to work your way through the gardens but its worth the walk. The garden has been designated a “special place of scenic beauty.” Well named.
Travel safe. Have fun.