Andrew’s world in Japan

Wake boarding

Wake boarding

Andrew Artist & researcher based in KL since 2009, passionately exploring the creative process & connecting with other creative people.

 

 A Scene For Any Season, Visit To Ritsurin Park

Most of us tend to consider a painting or sculpture artwork, but why stop there? Isn’t everything around us basically art. The idea of art can be described as “ a diverse range of human activities and the products of those activities. “ [wiki] It may not really apply today, and it may not have in the past either, but the general idea of Japan embraces this holistic living art. We are still roaming about the island of Shikoku. Today, we pay a visit to Ritsurin Kōen.

Carved Wooden Daruma at the craft center

Carved Wooden Daruma at the craft center

It might go hand in hand with limited space, an appreciation for ones environment. Or it could be some refl ection of the chaotic atmosphere of a land mass regularly shaken by volcanoes and tsunamis. Whatever it is, looking back at the history to see the impact it has left on Japan’s environment is inspiring.

My friends were kind enough to point me in the direction of one of Japan’s most famous gardens in the city of Takamatsu. With the garden you are free to visit rotating craft and folk art exhibitions as well as enjoy some fantastic tea at

Feeding Koi

Feeding Koi

the traditional teahouse. As provocative as that sounds among the numerous options you can pay to take part in, the real benefi t exists in taking time to thoroughly commune with the garden itself. Regardless of the time of year you visit, with a four-season fl ower arrangement hosting over 100 varieties of fl owers, you’re going to fi nd bloom. In English the name translates to “ chestnut grove garden.” If you jump on one of the regular tours the details and history of this heavily curated space will be revealed. They tend to run an hour, sometimes even two.

Get lost in a beautiful space that mixes landscape with history. Just looking around, you can feel a story unfurl before you. The depth of it does require some reference. This is where a guidebook would come in handy, or a smartphone with access to jump into the English language brochure.

Construction of Ritsurin began in 1625, a commissioned project by the then feudal lord of

View of Mt. Shinu

View of Mt. Shinu

the region, Ikoma Takatoshi. The foundation of the layout is built on the lush greenery of Mt. Shinu (Purple Cloud Mountain). Open year round, the admission fee runs about 400 yen. Following years saw other lords take over and continue development of this organic canvas. Over 750,000 square meters of space make up this garden that highlights many ponds and streams teaming with koi, lakes, bridges, carefully cultivated black pine trees and various buildings like the Kikugetsu-tei. At the south pond you can pay a small fee to have a 30 minute guided Japanese boat tour.

Any visit to Shikoku should defi nitely incorporate copious time spent at this ‘special place of scenic beauty.’

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