Stories of people & places, festivities & traditions from my travels around the world
Waterlily season at Takamatsu's beautiful Ritsurin Gardens
by Lucy Hornberger
Ritsurin Garden, once the playground of feudal lords, is the jewel in Takamatsu's crown and by far the city's major draw for visitors. The garden lies at the foot of thickly forested Mount Shiun which, following the Japanese garden concept of 'borrowed scenery' (shakkei
) is expertly used as a backdrop to add depth and drama to the many vistas.
The garden was first created in the late 16th century and was enjoyed and developed by 11 generations of aristocratic Matsudaira family. The garden we see today, with its layout of paths and pine-fringed walks, ponds and hillocks, is said to be largely as it was in its 18th century heyday. Broad cobbled and gravel paths lead you into and around the garden, while bridges and stepping stones and gazebos invite exploration. It's a classic example of a Japanese 'stroll garden'.
Visiting on a warm, sunny morning in mid-May, we were too late in the season for the famed azaleas and wisteria, and a little early for the irises which were only just starting to come into bloom. However, the whole garden was a symphony of shades of fresh, bright green - pine, maple, plum and bamboo - and the waterlilies were at their glorious peak.
Article & photos posted May 17th, 2016
Text and photos copyright © 2016 Lucy Hornberger. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use prohibited.