Built by a feudal lord in the 17th century, this garden became public property after the 19th-century Meiji Restoration and is now a registered National Treasure. Ritsurin contains close to 1,000 sculpted pine trees, six carp-filled lakes, and two wooden teahouses where samurai used to gather to perform tea ceremonies and compose haiku. Give yourself at least two hours to stroll through the garden, and don't miss Kikugetsu-tei teahouse, which serves green tea and snacks
daily 9 to 4:30, with lunch also available in spring and autumn. The garden is especially peaceful in the early morning or late afternoon. English maps are available at the entrance, audioguides are ¥200, and if you book in advance free volunteer English guides are sometimes available. It's a 10-minute taxi ride from Takamatsu Station, a 3-minute walk from JR Ritsurinkoen Kitaguchi Station, or a 10-minute walk from Kotoden Ritsurinkoen Station.