My Shikoku trip brought me to two very beautiful gardens. While Ritsurin-koen lacks the fame of Okayama's Korakuen, it has its own beauty and charm, especially being located next to a mountain.
It is possible to walk the two kilometer distance from Takamatsu Station to the park, following the long shopping arcade to avoid the heat. Taking the local Kotoden streetcar from Takamatsu Station, use the Kotohira Line, which takes about seven minutes and costs 190 yen (about 4 trains/hour); from Ritsurinkoen Station it's an additional 10 minute walk straight west. It's possible to take JR (local train toward Tokushima) to Ritsurinkoen-kitaguchi Station (five minutes, 210 yen, 2 trains per hour), which is about five minutes from the northern gate.
The park opens as early as 5:30 in summer, opening at 7:00 in the winter months; closing times vary (17:00-19:00 depending on the month). Admission is 410 yen.