Discovering, Minnesota

Enjoy a Relaxing Stroll Through Normandale Japanese Garden

Enjoy a Relaxing Stroll Through Normandale Japanese Garden

Tucked between Normandale Community College and Old Shakopee Road in Bloomington, MN, one doesn’t expect a serene and peaceful Japanese Garden. Normandale Japanese Garden is the perfect place to enjoy a gentle stroll, take photos, and enjoy the outdoors. We have visited in the summer and fall, and it’s always beautiful.

Normandale Japanese Garden

How Big is the Normandale Japanese Garden?

The Normandale Japanese Garden sits on 2 acres within the campus of Normandale Community College in Bloomington, MN. It is the perfect size to enjoy peace and serenity in a busy area. It’s small enough to walk briskly or stick around longer and enjoy views from a bridge or bench while you enjoy nature. You could fully take in the beauty in about an hour.

The History of Normandale Japanese Garden

The plans for the Normandale Japanese Garden at the campus of Normandale Community College began taking place in 1967. The Bloomington Affiliate Garden Club raised the funds, collaborated with the campus, and donated the land. This land included a portion of the 20-acre Green Heron Pond, also known as a swamp.

In 1972, they broke ground and reclaimed the swampy area behind the college, completed in 1976.

Once a swampy, unusable piece of land, the Garden now contains more than 300 plants, shrubs, trees, a waterfall, and a koi pond that makes you not want to leave.

Click to read about our visit to Anderson Japenese Garden in Rockford, IL 

Normandale Japanese Garden

Elements of the Garden

Authentic Japanese Garden features include and can be found at Nornandale Japanese Garden:

  • garden wall
  • entry gate
  • waterfalls
  • streams
  • multiple bridges
  • stone lanterns
  • symbolic islands
  • rocks
  • Koi fish

Take note of the trees and plants with different green tones and textures. They’re pruned to take on the aesthetic goals of a Japanese Garden. The plants chosen for this particular garden are not traditional choices of a Japanese garden but were selected to withstand a harsh, cold Minnesota winter.

Also featured is a Bentendo, which is a hexagonal structure that is common in Japan. It’s named for Benten, a goddess of wealth, happiness, wisdom, and music.

Takao Watanabe, a landscape architect for Tokyo Metropolitan Government, designed the garden.

Normandale Japanese Garden

Where is Normandale Japanese Garden, and how to get to it?

Normandale Japanese Garden is located on the campus of Normandale Community College in Bloomington, MN, at 9700 France Ave South,  Bloomington, MN. 55431.

Follow the signs once you get near the campus for directions to parking.

There is a short, paved walk on the north side of campus from the parking lot to the Garden.

Best time to visit Normandale Japanese Garden

The Garden is open spring, summer, and fall from sunrise to sunset. We don’t think there’s a bad season to visit. It’s going to be pretty whenever you decide. Our pro tip, as always, is to arrive early on weekdays for a chance to have the place to yourself.

What does it cost to visit Normandale Japanese Garden?

It’s completely free to park on campus and visit the Garden. They do accept donations.

Normandale Japanese Garden

Is Normandale Japanese Garden Accessible?

Yes, the Normandale Japanese Garden is accessible. The path is paved but may require some assistance as there is a slight hill just as you enter the garden gate. Everything else is flat and easily accessed.

Are photos allowed at Normandale Japanese Garden?

Yes, Normandale Japanese Garden photos are allowed for personal use. If you’re a professional photographer looking to profit from the pictures or are paying a photographer to take your photos at Normandale Japanese Garden, then you must apply for a permit.

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