I’m fond of visiting gardens and enjoy their beauty and tranquility. This seems especially true of the Japanese Gardens I’ve visited, which combine the various elements — carefully pruned trees and shrubs, flowing and still water, and meticulously positioned rocks — in a balanced and pleasing manner.
One of the last places I expected to find a beautiful Japanese Garden was on the vast Canadian prairies, specifically in the small city of Lethbridge, Alberta. The Nikka Yuko garden opened in 1967 as part of Canada’s 100th birthday celebration. The garden covers just 4 acres in Henderson Park, but seems larger. It was built to recognize the contributions of the Japanese community to Lethbridge, and as a symbol of international friendship between the people of Japan and Canada.
The garden was designed by Dr. Tadashi Kubo, a landscape architect from Osaka. The pavilion, bell tower, bridges and gates were built in Japan, shipped to Canada, and reassembled in Lethbridge. The grounds required several years of careful preparation, but everyone worked hard to create an authentic Japanese Garden on the prairie landscape. Japan’s Prince and Princess Takamatsu attended its grand opening celebration.
The Garden has a full calendar of events throughout the season including traditional tea ceremonies, guided tours, moonlight strolls, and art exhibits. I visited in the spring, before there were many blooming plants. I’d like to return again sometime in the fall to enjoy the beautiful autumn colors of the garden.
This video clip gives you a nice view of the central area of the Nikka Yuko Gardens, near the pond.
Enjoy this stroll through the Nikka Yuko Garden: