When you look up Shikoku in travel materials or online, you are bound to find references to Ritsurin Garden. That is hardly surprising. It is one of the most beautiful preserved gardens in Japan, and a real jewel to people who come here to have a Deep Japan experience.

The thing that I love the most about Ritsurin Garden is that it is very very welcoming to visitors. So often I have visited other famous gardens, in places like Kyoto, and I always felt “kept at arm’s length”. There are ropes and fences and arrows telling you where to go, and I always feel corralled through a maze until I am brought to the gift shop at the end.

In Ritsurin, not this year but most years, during cherry blossom season you will see people under the trees having lunch, or sharing wine and beer, and kids running around, hollering like crazy. I love it. Ritsurin, while a cultural treasure, is a place for people. And as such, a great symbol for the whole of Shikoku. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDGjY5ECTF0