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Anderson Japanese Gardens offers slice of beauty

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Tours of Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford, Illinois, help inspire the mind and energize the soul.

Waterfall and koi pond, Anderson Japanese Gardens, Rockford, Ill.

Photo: Anderson Japanese Gardens Waterfall and koi pond, Anderson Japanese Gardens, Rockford, Ill.

Private guided tours showcase the gardens, which are open from late April until the end of October.

Leah Weyermann, group tour manager at Anderson Japanese Gardens, said the two-hour walking tours are customized to meet the requirements for each group. A flat-path option is available for those who cannot negotiate stairs.

“One of the unique aspects of our tours is that no two are the same,” Weyermann said. “The garden changes day to day, and each of our volunteer tour guides brings their own experience and knowledge to the group in a personal way. Many groups visit from year to year and continue to learn more about the gardens, Japanese culture and themselves. Leaving our guests with a sense of peace within themselves, a feeling of the garden versus an image, is one goal of our tours.”

The 12-acre site holds koi-filled ponds, winding paths, gentle streams, cascading waterfalls, raked gravel gardens and beautifully trained pines.

A visit to Portland Japanese Garden in Oregon prompted Rockford businessman John Anderson to begin developing Anderson Japanese Gardens in 1978. With the help of designer Hoichi Kurisu, the Andersons’ swampy backyard along Rockford’s Spring Creek was transformed into a Japanese-style landscape.

On-site dining is available through Fresco at the Garden.

For more information about Anderson Japanese Gardens call 815-316-3285 or visit andersongardens.org.

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About Author

David Hoekman, Managing Editor

David Hoekman is a former newspaperman on a quest to tell the stories of the world’s various places and cultures in compelling ways. He especially enjoys learning and writing about the business of group travel. His favorite destination is wherever he is going next and his travel tip is to always pack an emergency granola bar or two.

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