A bit of Japan in Michigan

The Fredrick Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park is Grand Rapids, Michigan is known as a world class attraction that has added a little more of the world to the mix. The Japanese Garden features many traditional components, as well as contemporary sculpture.

Visitors enter through a garden gate and are greeted by a view of a vast pond. Many of the original trees and plants from the area are still there, but thousands of plants have been brought in to help make the garden look much older than it actually is. 95% of the plants are native to Michigan. The others were brought in to make an artistic statement.

Renowned garden designer Hochi Kurisu worked for three years to prepare for the opening in 2015. Among the traditional Japanese features visitors will find a Zen-style garden, waterfalls, bonsai garden and a teahouse. There is also a moss garden, a cherry tree grove and many stone and wood bridges. As in the rest of Meijer Gardens, there is contemporary sculpture throughout. The juxtaposition of ancient looking horticulture and modern art creates an enticing environment.

The garden is built for peaceful reflection. Some of the most interesting contemplative items are the poems. On 16 boulders scattered throughout the garden there are short poems carved into the stone. There are no signs directing the visitor to them or explaining them. You have to find them on your own as you make your way slowly through the garden.

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