Takamatsu is the capital of Japan’s smallest prefecture of Kagawa. The city used to be the main port and entry point to Shinkoku Island until in 1988 when the Seto Ohashi Bridge was completed. Takamatsu’s former castle town was controlled by the Matsudaira Clan, relatives of the Tokuagawa Shogun during most of the Edo Period (1603 to 1868). One of Japan’s most beautiful gardens, Ritsurin Koen which we’ll add later in the article, was constructed by the ruling clan.                                                                                                               

Before traveling to Takamatsu, we had been based in Kyoto sightseeing for three days. So, we were up early, suitcases packed and off to Kyoto station to catch our 8:00am Shinkansen to Okayama, the fast journey only taking 1 hour 13 minutes exactly! Once at Okayama we then changed to a smaller train named the Marine Liner that travelled over the long bridge from the mainland to the island of Shinkoku then onto Takamatsu, taking 1 hour 7 minutes. Between trains we only had a waiting time of around 15 minutes, Japanese efficiency! So, we had collected our reserve seat tickets for both trains the night before saving time. 

Marine Liner
Ritsurin Koen 004

From Takamatsu station our hotel was only a 5-minute walk, as we normally do, we left our bags in the hotel as it was too early for check-in and went off exploring! We stayed two nights in Takamatsu, with our initial plan being our first day to visit the Ritsurin Koen gardens and then our second day visit the many pine and Bonsai farmers in the Kokobunji and Kinashi districts, which are only a short train journey away. But…due to the heavy rain when we arrived and the next day being forecast for full sun, a change in plans was needed! With gardens like Ritsurin Koen always being best viewed in nice weather, we decided to salvage something from the day and visit some of the Bonsai farmers in the Kokobunji district, and then visit Ritsurin Koen and Kinashi district the following day.

When we visit Japan in the autumn as we have mentioned before in our articles the weather is normally always nice and dry…so to get a day of heavy rain was unusual for us! But lucky for this entire trip it was the only rainy day.

Some of the Takamatsu Sites We have Visited

Ritsurin Koen
Bonsai District
Kinashi & Kokubunji Districts