Anderson Japanese Gardens Rockford, Illinois

This is a particularly beautiful place to visit in the Spring and again in the Fall.  The grounds offer koi-filled ponds, garden paths winding through the foliage, and stunning waterfalls.

At times there isn’t a lot of flowering plants.  I learned that the concept of a Japanese garden includes a minimum of flowers, and what few there are represent the fleeting nature of life.  That’s why a Spring visit is so special – the iris, rhododendron, and azalea are that fleeting moment.


This site all began with John R. Anderson, a Rockford businessman who had a long-time appreciation of Japanese culture.  After visiting the Portland Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon, Mr. Anderson was inspired to have a garden of his own.  He went right to the top, and in 1978, hired renowned landscape designer, Hoichi Kurisu, to transform twelve swampy acres of his backyard into a Japanese garden.  The Andersons later donated their grounds to a non-profit organization.




It’s a lovely, tranquil area to wander around.  Turtles, ducks, and lots of koi share the space with all the plants.  The day I was there, kids as well as adults were taking in the nature and thoroughly enjoying themselves.


The grounds include a traditional Tea House.  A scroll on the wall inside reads, “Every day is a good day.”


One of my favorite areas was the West Waterfall. Here the three elements of a Japanese garden – stone, water, and plants  – offered a spectacular show.

The symbol for the Anderson Japanese Gardens translates to . . .  “At this moment I realize only contentment.” Plan a visit to the gardens, and feel that peaceful seclusion from the outside world.

Anderson Japanese Gardens

318 Spring Creek Road

Rockford, Illinois