Serenity Found at Anderson Japanese Gardens
On a road trip to Chicago last fall, we made a stop at Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford, IL. Were it not for a stunning picture Kelly saw on Instagram, we may not have never even discovered this experience. Though this was our first trip to a Japanese Garden and it most certainly won’t be our last. Serenity is most certainly found at Anderson Japanese Garden.
Beautiful, calm and breathtaking
Those are the words we would use to describe this tranquil Japanese Garden in the middle of a busy city. Plan to spend several hours if you really want to take in all the beauty. We spent about 3 hours going through once. There are plenty of places to sit and reflect along the way. If time allowed, we’d have gone through a second time to see everything we missed the first time around.
How Anderson Japanese Garden Began
Built in 1978, when Rockford businessman John Anderson was inspired by a visit to the Portland Japanese Garden in Oregon. With the ongoing assistance of renowned Master Craftsman and designer, Hoichi Kurisu, the Andersons’ swampy backyard along Rockford’s Spring Creek was transformed into a Japanese-style landscape. Anderson Japanese Gardens is nearly 10 acres of stunning, tranquil nature and water features.From groundbreaking to today, the placement of every rock, alignment of every tree, and layout of all paths have been made with careful consideration by Mr. Kurisu. In 1998, John and Linda Anderson donated the Gardens as a supported organization to the Rockford Rotary Charitable Association. It now exists as a not-for-profit entity and continues to grow and change to this day.
10 elements that evoke a sense of a Japanese-style garden:
We’ll show you in pictures below the 10 elements that are found in Japanese-style gardens.
1. An intentionally irregular stone path, which helps wanderers be “in the moment” and pay attention to where they are.
2. Water dripping from a bamboo pipe and spilling over uneven, different size stones.
3. Manicured, miniature junipers, maples or other bonsai trees in a carefully selected container.
Although these aren’t shown in a container, the Maples and Junipers were heavily present!
4. Clipped shrubbery, pruned trees and bouncy moss groundcover that create a sense of the depth of space
5. A patch of raked gravel
6. A shed or small outbuilding used as a teahouse
Can you imagine enjoying a cup of tea in this setting? While they were not serving tea during our visit, we certainly spent some time dreaming about that experience!
The view looking out from the tea house.
7. A semi-circular wooden bridge.
A cement bridge
8. Cement lanterns near a path signaling changes in the landscape ahead
9. A bamboo fence
10. Visually merging the end of the garden with distant hills or nature
As you come walking near the end you can hear that you’re coming up on a waterfall. As you walk you catch glimpses of falling water.
We think the Anderson Japanese Gardens nailed the 10 elements. It’s an absolutely stunning property. Here are a few more pictures of water features throughtout the property. As previously mentioned, everywhere you go you can hear water trickling through.
More water throughout
While we were trying to feed the Koi, this little guy was not shy! We posted this video to our Instagram.
Pro Tip: Travel mid-week or when there are no events going and it’s a photographers paradise!
We absolutely enjoyed this experience and would visit again if we were in the area.
Have you been to a Japanese Garden in the Midwest that we should add to our list?
Here are some pictures for you to save for the future!
Anderson Japanese Gardens
Garden Hours: Monday – Friday 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM | Saturday & Sunday 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Restaurant Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM | Saturday & Sunday 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Cost of Admission: Adult $9.50 | Senior (62+) $8.50 | Child $7.50
FREE Admission: Garden Members | Children Five & Under