Japan 2015: Takamatsu

It was Tuesday 8th December when I arrived in Takamatsu (高松), Kagawa Prefecture (香川県). I was immediately hit by what a beautiful, clean city it seemed to be, and thrilled to see the blue sky was following me on my journey.

Takamatsu

Takamatsu Station area

Takamatsu Station - Shikoku Smile Station

Takamatsu Station – Shikoku Smile Station

After a morning of hotel visits and work things, I set off to explore the city (also work, but the part that doesn’t feel like work at all!). Takamatsu’s main highlight is Ritsurin Koen (栗林公園), a landscape garden built by the local feudal lords during the 1620s. Ritsurin Koen became open to the public in 1875, and was designated as a ‘National Place of Scenic Beauty’ in 1953. It was absolutely stunning!

Ritsurin Garden, Takamatsu

Ritsurin Koen

The garden was very well kept, and there were a number of volunteer guides around offering their services. I spoke with a guide for a while, but felt he was rushing me around, so I managed to politely shake him off and go it alone.

Ritsurin Garden, Takamatsu

Trimming the trees

Ritsurin Garden, Takamatsu

Peek-a-boo

Ritsurin Garden, Takamatsu

Autumn reflections

Ritsurin Garden, Takamatsu

Twisted

Ritsurin Garden, Takamatsu

Gulp.

Ritsurin Garden, Takamatsu

Must be a great view from those buildings!

Ritsurin Garden, Takamatsu

I see you, but you don’t see me.

Ritsurin Garden, Takamatsu

Another world

Ritsurin Garden, Takamatsu

Imagine taking tea here…

The garden is pretty big, and they recommend 60 minutes to explore the south side and a further 40 minutes for the north. I didn’t have the luxury of time on my side, but still managed to enjoy the garden at a fairly leisurely pace. My next stop was Takamatsu Castle (高松城) – or rather the ruins of – which I have to confess I found a little disappointing. Construction of the castle began in 1587 and the castle has been open to the public since 1955. The castle, which stands in Tamamo Park (玉藻公園), is basically just some stone walls and a moat now. There are a couple of buildings and castle-y bits, and certainly the sense of a castle, but having seen a number of Japan’s original castles I wasn’t particularly impressed with this one.

Takamatsu Castle

Castle?

Takamatsu Castle

Interesting reflections

Takamatsu Castle

Hmm… so it would have looked great, once upon a time!

Takamatsu Castle

Castle-y bits

Takamatsu Castle

Sea look-out

Takamatsu Castle

More like a castle

I finished my day with a cheeky visit to Takamatsu Symbol Tower (高松シンボルタワー). Whilst this 151 metre high skyscraper doesn’t have an official observation deck, visitors are allowed to see the view from the observatory lobby on the upper floors, and when the restaurants are closed they let you in to look through the windows there too. The view was spectacular!

View from Takamatsu Symbol Tower

On top of the world again

View from Takamatsu Symbol Tower

Wow.

View from Takamatsu Symbol Tower

Up in the clouds

View from Takamatsu Symbol Tower

Out to sea

My overall impression of Takamatsu was a very good one. It was a lovely city, with an excellent garden if not many other tourist spots. Right now I really wish I could go back to Takamatsu and use it as a base to visit the Setouchi Triennale 2016, a contemporary art festival held every three years on the islands in the Seto Inland Sea, the sea which separates Honshu and Shikoku. Takamatsu would be a fantastic spot from which to visit the islands, as most of them don’t have much accommodation. Sadly I can’t go back to Japan this year for the festival, but the next destination on my schedule was Naoshima, the ‘art island’, which is the main island in the Seto Inland Sea and the main focus of the festival. More to come on that soon!

4 thoughts on “Japan 2015: Takamatsu

  1. This brings back some good memories for me. Takamatsu is a really nice place to visit especially Ritsurin koen.

    Are the sea bream (tai) still in the castle moat? They are an interesting change from the usual carp.

    Liked by 1 person

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