Ritsurin Koen, Japan’s Largest Landscape Garden

On Thursday Phil and I were fortunate to be taken across to the island of Shiboku, to the south of Awaji Island, to visit the world famous Ritsurin Garden.

At 75 hectares in size Ritsurin is Japan’s largest landscape garden and was designated a ‘Special Place of Scenic Beauty’ in 1953. It is also Japan’s premier pine tree garden with over 1,400 pines planted around the grounds. Construction of Ritsurin Koen began in the 17th century, during the early Edo (Samurai) period and continued under three successive generations of feudal lords, taking over 100 years to bring to fruition. The garden was finally completed in 1745 by the Matsudaira family (lords of the Takamatsu Domain during the Edo period) who used it as a family home until 1870. Ritsurin garden is typical of the Edo period – a ‘strolling garden’, with meandering paths affording the visitor myriad views of the beautiful lakes, islands, bridges, rocks and artificial hills set within a spacious landscaped garden. Mount Shuin appears as a backdrop to the garden, a wonderful example of the Japanese art of ‘borrowing’ the natural landscape and seamlessly blending it into the edges of the manmade garden. The Japanese understand more than anyone that each season has a part to play in the beauty of a garden and Ritsurin Koen’s many views are ravishing in every season. The garden at Ritsurin also features a large tea house, typical of the Edo period. The Edo garden style is a dramatic change from the minimalist gardens of the preceding Muromachi period as the feudal lords rediscovered their love of extravagance and recreation, creating strolling gardens in their home towns and the secondary villas they used to fortify Edo. Hence why these ‘strolling gardens’ are often found in former castle towns such as Takamatsu City where Ritsurin Koen is located.

 

IMG_2312 IMG_2313 IMG_2320 IMG_2327 IMG_2334 IMG_2335 IMG_2343 IMG_2351 IMG_2357 IMG_2364 IMG_2368 IMG_2372 IMG_2378 IMG_2383 IMG_2385 IMG_2389 IMG_2390 IMG_2392 IMG_2401 IMG_2413 IMG_2418 IMG_2420 IMG_2423 IMG_2424 IMG_2434 IMG_2439 IMG_2443 IMG_2447 IMG_2449 IMG_2452 IMG_2455 IMG_2457 IMG_2459 IMG_2463 IMG_2464 IMG_2467 IMG_2470 IMG_2474  IMG_2486  IMG_2495

IMG_2292 IMG_2293 IMG_2295 IMG_2299 IMG_2306 IMG_2316

IMG_2485

IMG_2500 IMG_2490 IMG_2477

One comment

  1. Douglas Needham

    What a wonderful welcome Phil and you had from the ALPHA students! Risurin Garden looks spectacular. Thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: