Touring Japan 2010: Day 4 – Ritsurin Park

By Michael Gakuran | | Adventure | 14 Comments |

Just a short update today. I think the heat has been getting to me, and the lack of sleep last night probably didn’t help either. I was up until the early hours searching in vain for a way to get down to Kashiwajima, an island South-West of Shikoku renouned for its scuba diving.

I booked the dives yesterday while boarding the ferry to Takamatsu. Always doing things last minute! When I finally got around to planning the route down there by the 18 Kippu, I found that the trip would take around 12 hours! A whole day’s travel just to get down to the bottom of Shikoku! I guess this is why the island is not as well travelled as other places in Japan.

I was aware that one can only take local trains using the ticket, but usually that includes trains which can get up to pretty good speeds. The Limited Express trains aren’t part of the deal though, and it seems that on Shikoku if you want to get anywhere without spending half the time in a carriage you need to use them. The same 12 hour trip would be cut down to around 5 hours or so by using the Limited Express trains, but then of course I would have to pay the fares and the whole point of the 18 Kippu would be rendered obsolete. So, let’s put the diving back for another time, I thought. Take a plane to Kochi and get the train from there. The dive shop didn’t have rental cameras anyway, so I would have missed out on many great opportunities. Have to try and rationalise these setbacks ;).

So setting out today, I decided to take it easy and visit Ritsurin Park, one of the 3 most scenic parks in Japan, or so it is said. But first, with morning hunger grabbing at my body, I went in search of a noodle brunch. Craig had recommended I visit Uehara Udon for some awesome Sanuki Udon, the pride of Takamatsu. After a long walk in the muggy morning heat, I finally found the place. Extremely cheap prices and thick, heavy noodles. Definitely a thumbs up!

Afterwards I went for a ramble around the park. It was pretty overcast most of the day, and even a heavy rain shower crept in at one point, but that didn’t appease the heat much. I ended up falling asleep for a while on one of the large expanses of grass (and getting bitten to hell while resting!)

The rest of my day was spent photographing the delightful little turtles inhabiting one of the many ponds in Ritsuin. Same thing happened back in one of the haikyo I visited in Nagasaki. A crab took up several hours of my exploration time. I do love my critters, but boy are they difficult to photograph! It didn’t help that I was using the kit lens, which isn’t very bright, and that I was zoomed in. Still, out of the hundred or so I took, I got a few acceptable ones :).

I think this one above is called a クサガメ in Japanese. Anyone out there confirm this for me? What type of turtle is this? And the one below, perhaps a スッポン? I like to call him the 長首奴 – the long-necked guy :P.

And how about this little dude? I’m pretty sure he’s famous as I’ve seen lots of pictures before. But what type of turtle?

An one more for luck. Unfortunately I cut this shot of too high, meaning I didn’t actually photograph the bottom of the turtle, but it still cropped fairly well.

All in all, I had far more fun shooting turtles than viewing the park – but it was beautiful!

14 comments on “Touring Japan 2010: Day 4 – Ritsurin Park
  1. Gakuranman says:


  2. Derek Blais says:

    The top one is a Reeve’s turtle (aka Chinese pond turtle). I don’t know the second. The third is a red-eared slider, which isn’t native to Japan, but spread to the wild through the pet industry. They get big and require lots of space. Most RES owners in Japan set them free as they become troublesome to take care of. The fourth is another Reeve’s turtle.

  3. Gakuranman says:

    I know! This one just started yawning randomly during the shoot. I panicked, knowing it would only last a few seconds and just shot. Even if the composition wasn't perfect, it was nice and sharp, so very happy :).

  4. yonasu says:

    Turtles are so awesome! :D They look like old grandpas with their mouths opened and their smile when closed is so genuine.

  5. Gakuranman says:


  6. Gakuranman says:

    Nope – too hot for the Gakuran in this weather!!

  7. Nick says:

    The second to last one is a Red Eared Slider in English.

  8. Kobushime-chan says:

    顔に赤いラインがあるのは,たぶん緑ガメかな~☆ 首の長いやつは、すっぽん!でも、池ですっぽんを今まで見たことがないけど...もし本当にすっぽんだったら、かなりレアだね!すっぽんに縁があるよ:p

  9. I think that turtle is a chinese softshell turtle, Pelodiscus sinensis. At least by the head shape and paws

  10. Nice park shots…you're probably lucky the day was a bit ugly, as usually it's a bit hard to get shots of that bridge without folks all over it or elbowing you to take the same picture of the bridge. ;-p

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Get the Gakuranman Newsletter!

Greetings, fellow Adventurer!

For a limited time, subscribe free and get:

Just enter your name and email below: