Anderson Japanese Gardens
The No. 1-ranked Japanese garden in North America is in Illinois, according to premier Japanese garden journal Sukiya Living, and it’s right in our backyard. In fact, Anderson Japanese Gardens originally was someone’s backyard.
It was built in 1978 by Rockford businessman John Anderson, who was inspired by a visit to a Japanese garden. With the expertise of renowned Japanese landscape designer Hoichi Kurisu, the Andersons’ swampy backyard along Rockford’s Spring Creek was transformed into a Japanese-style landscape. In 1998, the Andersons donated the Gardens as a supported organization to the Rockford Rotary Charitable Association.
Three essential elements of a Japanese garden are stone, which forms the structure of the landscape; water, representing life-giving force; and plants, which provide color and changes throughout the seasons. Kurisu combined all with careful consideration regarding placement, flow, direction and alignment.
Anderson Japanese Gardens actually features two distinct gardens within its 4 acres: the formal Japanese Garden, which incorporates Japanese elements dating back to the 12th and 16th centuries; and the contemporary Garden of Reflection.
Visitors can simply enjoy the tranquility and beauty, or take part in programs designed to calm the spirit, inspire creativity, stimulate the mind and renew energy. These include a yearly lecture series; plant and design workshops; Japanese art instruction; yoga, meditation and tai chi; and more. Among annual special events are Japanese Tea Ceremonies, Japanese Summer Festival and Tuesday Evening at the Gardens.
Anderson Japanese Gardens is open daily, May 1-Oct. 31. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and $6 children. Gardens members and ages 5 and under are free.