In Takamatsu, I make an easy decision; I visit the Ritsurin Garden.
Ritsurin Garden is a daimyo (feudal lord) garden, which was completed in 1745 over a period of one hundred years. Designated as a Special Place of Scenic Beauty, this spacious garden features 6 ponds and 13 landscaped hills.
As I pay for my ticket, an old man offers to be my English guide. The guide is a free service provided by the garden. He offers me an umbrella as there is some light rain. But, I prefer not to use it. I find umbrellas cumbersome and avoid them as much as possible. He doesn’t take it either, as he is wearing an official park raincoat with the name of the park in big letters.
The guide tours me around the main points of interest of the garden. During the tour, we do some small talk. He has a good understanding of English.
He asks me the inevitable question “From where are you?”. After my answer, I ask back. He lives in the city, 10 minutes from the garden. He rides this distance in a bike. Takamatsu is a city well prepared to go by bike. Bike shops and bike rentals can be found around the town.
The garden itself is impressive by its size and variety. There are several very beautiful spots. Trees have interesting forms created with bonsai techniques. A man-made waterfall creates a small river. Originally the garden had entrance paths to the mountain.
I continue my visit to the city at the port. There is a walk on the other side of the industrial port. The waves jump over the fence. The water has a dark blue colour, and it seems that water gets very deep fast. When I get close to the water, a word comes to my mind: Thalassophobia. There is nothing resembling a beach. Far away, I can see the island were Momotarō fought demons. A perfect place for a legendary story.
I drop the visit to Naruto and its whirlpools. As most of my trip, the plan consists of a list of places to visit in each city. But, I change it as I please depending on how much time I spend in each location and my mood of the day. This time, to get to Naruto and back will have taken several hours for little gain. But the Naruto whirlpools are still on my list for future visits to this area.