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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Ritsurin Koen Cycads

栗林公園

Ritsurin Park in Takamatsu is one of Japan's finest and largest strolling gardens.

Constructed over a period of a hundred years in the Edo Period, the garden combines the traditional features of most Japanese gardens of its type: 'borrowed scenery,' lakes, bridges, tea pavilions and mini-mountains.

Ritsurin Koen Cycads

Built for the enjoyment of the successive ruling lords of the area, the garden was designed to be appreciated in all seasons of the year.

After the fall of the feudal system, the park has been open to the public since 1875.

Ritsurin Koen Cycads

As for the varied flora of the park, there are plum and cherry blossoms in spring, irises and lotuses in summer, maples in autumn and camellias in winter.

My own favorites are these ancient cycads presented to the Matsudaira family (then the rulers of Takamatsu) by the Shimazu clan of the Satsuma domain. Satsuma at the time held the trading rights to the then independent Ryukyu Islands, which now make up modern-day Okinawa Prefecture. The plants are now over 300 years old and are protected by the prefecture.

Access

Ritsurin Koen
Tel: 087 833 7411

Take a bus from JR Takamatsu Station.

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