Ritsurin Garden (栗林公園) is a famous sightseeing spot in Kagawa Prefecture. It is one of the leading tourist attractions in Kagawa, where 700,000 people visit each year. It is popular in Takamatsu City because it is easy to access and you can enjoy Daimyo Garden.
Do you know Nakazu Banshoen (中津万象園) in Marugame City?
If you want to know about the historic Daimyo Garden and the beauty of Japanese gardens, I recommend visiting not only Ritsurin Garden but also the Nakazu Banshoen Garden.
This webpage introduces sightseeing points of Nakazu Banshoen garden and restaurant.
- Ritsurin Garden vs Nakazu Banshoen
- Nakazu Banshoen is a villa in Marugame Castle
- Nakazu Banshoen Guide
- Daimyo Garden walking around the pond
- Enjoy and relax in a short time
- Yogetsubashi Bridge overlooking the garden
- Huge umbrella pine with a diameter of 15 meters
- Kanchoro, Japan’s oldest existing Sencha room
- Various Shinto and Buddhism are enshrined
- Meal while looking at the garden at Kaifutei
- Easy to go by car because there is free parking
- Various events will be held
- Reasons why Nakazu Banshoen was created
- Summary. Good and not quite of Nakazu Banshoen
Ritsurin Garden vs Nakazu Banshoen
|Ritsurin Garden||Nakazu Banshoen|
|Annual visitors||about 700,000||about 50,000|
|Commencement||first feudal lord of Takamatsu|
|2th feudal lord of Marugame|
5th feudal lord of Takamatsu
5th feudal lord of Marugame
|Area||1600 are||560 are|
|Parking lot||Paid parking only||Free parking|
|Regular holiday||open all year round||every Wednesday|
|Opening hours||Varies depending on the season||9:30 AM|
|Closing hours||Varies depending on the season||5 PM|
|Restaurant||Garden Cafe Ritsurin||Kaifutei (懐風亭)|
Nakazu Banshoen is a villa in Marugame Castle
Nakazu Banshoen was originally built as a villa on the land of Nakazu by the second lord Kyogoku Takatoyo who was the lord of Marugame Castle.
Marugame Castle is located in the city of Marugame. It is a 10-minute walk south from Marugame Station. It is one of the existing 12 castle towers built before the Edo period and is known as the famous castle of Ishigaki.
The Nakazu Banshoen, located about 3 km away from the castle, was created as a separate residence by the Kyogoku family who governed Marugame.
- Ritsurin Garden is the villa of Takamatsu Castle, that ruled the east of Kagawa.
- Nakazu Banshoen is the villa of Marugame Castle, that ruled the west of Kagawa.
Nakazu Banshoen Guide
Daimyo Garden walking around the pond
Nakazu Banshoen is a Daimyo Garden that walks around the pond like Ritsurin Garden. This is because the garden around the pond is one of the features of the Japanese historic Daimyo Garden.
There is a secret to the design of the Nakazu Banshoen pond. The pond and islands in the center of the garden are inspired by Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture, the home of the Kyogoku family.
In the pond, there are eight islands that reflect the beauty of Shiga and Lake Biwa, with the image of their hometown. Each island is connected by a bridge, and it is designed to take a walk not only around the pond but also within the island.
Enjoy and relax in a short time
Nakazu Banshoen has much fewer visitors than Ritsurin Garden (50,000 vs 700,000 annually). Therefore, the people in the garden are sparse, so you can enjoy the beauty of the Japanese garden in a calm atmosphere.
Since the circumference of the pond is about 1 km, I think that it is just the right length for a walk in the garden. Of course, there are places to rest.
The sightseeing time for one round is about 30 minutes, you can enjoy the outer route walking around the pond and the inner route walking around the island twice.
Yogetsubashi Bridge overlooking the garden
Yogetsubashi (邀月橋) is the largest bridge in Nakazu Banshoen.
There is a meaning of inviting to “邀”, and this red arched bridge has the meaning of a bridge that greets the moon. A beautiful moon can be seen from this bridge in the harvest moon (August 15 in the old calendar).
In the daytime it is also a bridge overlooking the garden, making it a great photo point.
Huge umbrella pine with a diameter of 15 meters
Nakazu Banshoen has a huge pine tree 15 meters (49 ft) in diameter. This huge pine has the shape of an umbrella and is named “Chiyo no Kasamatsu (千代の傘松)”. This pine tree has been selected as one of Japan’s top 100 pine trees.
- Chiyo means long years and eternity.
- Shiga Prefecture’s “Utsukushimatsu” pine was made into an umbrella shape over 300 years.
- The tree is 600 years old.
- It takes 30 people to prune the branches.
Kanchoro, Japan’s oldest existing Sencha room
Nakazu Banshoen is the oldest Japanese Sencha room (tea house) that was built in the late Edo period. It was named Kanchoro and became a tangible cultural property designated by Marugame City in 1975.
The Kanchoro was built on a raised-floor-style, and people could have enjoyed the scenery of the Seto Inland Sea rise and fall and a pine-covered area in the garden.
Various Shinto and Buddhism are enshrined
Unlike Ritsurin Garden, there are several Shinto Gods and Buddhist Buddhas inside the Nakazu Banshoen garden.
- Benzaiten (弁財天)
- Fushimi Inari Branch shrine (伏見稲荷分社)
- Stone throwing Jizo (石投げ地蔵)
- Swan Kannon (白鳥観音)
- Yin Yang stone (陰陽石)
The various Shinto and Buddhism are related to the name of Banshoen.
The Benzaiten shrine enshrines the Benzaiten of Chikubushima Island in Lake Biwa, the ancestor of the Kyogoku family. The Fushimi Inari Branch shrine was built separately from the Kyoto Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine that the Kyogoku family believed. Jizo is a Buddhist saint that has been here since a long time ago. Yin Yang stone directly represents women and men, but it is based on the traveler’s guardian deity that were folk-religious.
Meal while looking at the garden at Kaifutei
Nakazu Banshoen has a restaurant called Kaifutei (懐風亭). Unlike the restaurant (Garden Cafe Ritsurin) of Ritsurin Garden, you can eat without entering the garden. Entrance fee is that there is not need.
Reopened in April 2017 and all rooms have a garden view. Even if you don’t have time to walk around the garden, you can enjoy the atmosphere of the garden while eating.
Nakazu Banshoen’s restaurants are mainly Japanese cuisine. Lunch is reasonably priced at around 1000 to 2000 yen (US$ 10 to 20, NT$290 to 580, 70元 ~ ￥140元).
The upper lunch photo is “Weekday-only Shokado” in May 2019. It was a delicious and voluminous meal despite being 1000 yen.
Easy to go by car because there is free parking
Unlike Ritsurin Garden, Nakazu Banshoen garden and Kaifutei restaurant has a free parking lot. It seems that 30 buses and 100 passenger cars can be stopped in a large parking lot.
There is a parking lot on the opposite side of the road on the south side of the entrance to Manjyoen. Need to cross one signal, but walking distance within 3 minutes.
(There is a small parking lot next to the main entrance of the garden.)
Various events will be held
Although it may not be for foreign tourists, the Nakazu Banshoen has a Marugame Museum and Citizen Plaza, so various events are held.
In conjunction with the fall period of the Setouchi Triennale 2019 and Okayama Art Summit 2019, a sound art “Chosho Hakkei” set in the Nakazu Banshoen garden and the Marugame Museum will be held from September 27th to November 24th.
For details, please check from the official website page “Chosho Hakkei” of Nakazu Banshoen.
Reasons why Nakazu Banshoen was created
Nakazu Banshoen has released “Castle and Daimyo Garden” on youtube.
The video has the following description:
- There is no literature left describing the reason why the Nakazu Banshoen was made.
- Kyogoku Takatoyo, who was a cultured person, had the idea that good things will not be destroyed in any age.
- According to Takamatsu Domain’s record, Ritsurin Garden was created as a public project to save the people from the hardship caused by bad harvests. The Nakazu Banshoen that started at the same time may have been a public project to save Marugame’s people.
- Share your culture. Although it was a garden of Daimyo, ordinary people were allowed to enter it freely during the Edo period.
- Kyogoku Takatoyo wanted to leave the home of the Kyogoku family as a form of ancestors.
Summary. Good and not quite of Nakazu Banshoen
Ritsurin Garden is a famous tourist spot in Kagawa, but it is a magnificent Daimyo Garden that is not inferior to the Nakazu Banshoen. Here are some points that are better or worse than Ritsurin Park.
- It is small daimyo garden than the Ritsurin Garden, but it is a garden walk rich in change.
- More than 1000 pine trees are well maintained.
- You can enjoy the beautiful Daimyo Garden in a short time.
- Inside the garden, there are Tokikan and Kaibotei (Uchiwanosato) building where you can enter for free.
- Those who rented bicycles have a discount on admission fees.
- You can eat while looking at the garden from the restaurant without entering the garden.
- There is a large free parking lot.
- The admission fee is slightly high. Discount service is not as good as Ritsurin Garden.
- There are no garden tour guides or multilingual audio guides. Other than Japanese is unkind.
- Wheelchairs can be rented for free, but wheelchair movement is inconvenient.
- No cashless app.
In the fall of the Setouchi Triennale in 2019, the Honjima island and Takamijima island will be the venues, and you will visit the nearby Nakazu Banshoen. This garden is not far from Marugame Port and Tadotsu Port.
There are places where the service is unsatisfactory to get a 5 star rating, but the scenic garden is worth a visit.
There was a person named Kakinomotonohitomaro (柿本人麻呂) who was a poet 1300 years ago. This person left Kagawa from 中乃水門 (Nakano Minato) that was in this area, and left a song that praised the scenic beauty starting with “Tamamoyoshi”. It’s a beautiful place left in poetry. (The memorial song monument is in the garden.)
Finally, link to the official website of Nakazu Banshoen and Kaifutei. Check here for more information.
Official website 中津万象園 / 丸亀美術館
Address 25-1 Nakazucho, Marugame City, Kagawa Prefecture
Parking lot Free parking for 100 passenger cars
Opening hours 9: 30-17: 00 (last reception 16:30)
Admission price for adults 700 yen for the garden, 500 yen for the museum
Admission price for children under 16 300 yen for the garden, 200 yen for the museum
Note: Prices as of September 2019
Official website 中津万象園味処 懐風亭
Address 25-1 Nakazucho, Marugame City, Kagawa Prefecture
Parking lot Free parking, same parking lot as Nakazu Banshoen and Marugame Museum
Opening hours for lunch 11: 00-14: 30 (last order 14:00)
Opening hours for dinner 17: 00-21: 30 (last order 20:30)
Note: No opening for breakfast
Note: Reservations are required for Tuesday dinner