Amidst the PinesRitsurin Garden
These swells hold delicate shrubs and long grass, lichen-smattered stones and dwarf pines.
The wind catches Mount Shiun’s coat of trees, wavering its branches down to Ritsurin Garden nestled at its foot. Over 16 hectares, six serene ponds ripple in the gentlest breeze, interspersed with thirteen landscaped hills and mounds. These swells hold delicate shrubs and long grass, lichen-smattered stones and dwarf pines.
The garden draws the inhabitants of the surrounding city of Takamatsu and visitors from around the world alike to savour its festoon of flora and idyllic teahouse. Created in the Edo period as a ‘stroll garden’, its use of Shinto ideology has sculpted a tamed wildness. Here, nature receives the gaze of reverence.
The 300-year-old pine trees near Hokko, the north pond, have been meticulously tended to in the bonsai fashion. The lush greenery expands from pines into palms, maples and plum trees, reachable over bow-like bridges. Koi carp gently saunter through green waters, their regal barbels fluttering like moustaches.
The Kikugetsu-tei teahouse romantically translates as ‘The Moon Scooping Pavilion’, after a Tang era Chinese poem, which describes scooping water to hold the reflection of the Autumn moon. Tatami mats are intricately laid out over worn wood, on which you may sit and gaze over the tranquil Nanko pond with a cup of matcha.
- Words: Libby Borton
- Photos: Raspberry and Jam