A Little Time and a Keyboard: Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford, Illinois

Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford, Illinois

Friday, September 15, 2017

Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford, Illinois

We spent the last day of summer break wandering the tranquil environs of Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford, Illinois. The balance between water features, natural elements, tea houses, foot bridges and sculptures had almost a meditative effect. We had a wonderful morning of reflection.

Pond serenity at Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford, Illinois
Pond serenity
Rockford businessman John Anderson was inspired to create the gardens after visiting a Japanese garden in Oregon in 1978. Water, stone and plants are the essential elements of a Japanese garden. The water represents the life giving force. Stone forms the structure. Plants are the change as they change through the seasons. All of these features are artfully melded into magical gardens awaiting discovery.

Waterfall feature at Anderson Japanese Gardens

Whenever strolling through a local Japanese garden, I am amazed by how different the landscape looks from what is typical in the Midwest. Japanese gardens quickly transport me far away from my everyday life. Paths take you past waterfalls large and small, over bridges, around tea houses and into quiet corners.

Crossing a Japanease footbridge at Anderson Japanese Gardens
Crossing a Japanese foot bridge.
Japanese gardens are artistically molded to inspire the soul and provide reflection. The landscape certainly invites moments of pondering.

Coi swimming in a pond
Look at all of the coi!
The ponds were full of coi. Ducks glided over the ponds. Opportunity to just sit and watch nature was ample.

Serene tea house at Anderson Japanese Gardens
Serene tea house at Anderson Japanese Gardens
We peered into a tea house. What tranquil setting for a tea ceremony and a repose!

Stones to walk up at Anderson Japanese Gardens
Stone footpath up!
In some areas, you could climb slightly up for a different perspective.

Delicate bamboo water feature
Delicate bamboo water feature

Water features both large and small intrigue and delight.

Bugler at Anderson Japanese Gardens

There are a number of sculptures throughout the gardens. My favorite happened to be the musicians around the pond!

Our peaceful meandering through Anderson Japanese Gardens was provided us with the mindset reframe that we needed. The gardens also offer tours, a restaurant and gift shop. There are also events throughout the season including tea gatherings. The gardens are open seasonally, so please check the schedule. If you need a nature reset, Anderson Japanese Gardens is one to keep on your list.

Meandering through Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford, Illinois

**Disclosure: No compensation was received for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.


  1. Wow, a Japanese garden in Illinois. A must see indeed. Looks really solemn and aside from reflection, you can do meditation here too. The place is so pretty. And I miss seeing coi, as they say, for luck to have a coi fish :)

  2. How beautiful and serene! I’ve visited a Japanese garden in Portland and loved it; no doubt that this inspired garden was very similar.

  3. Such beautiful gardens! I have been to the Japanese gardens in San Francisco at the Golden Gate Park and they were lovely and so serene. Love your photos!

  4. When I first clicked I really thought this was in Japan, until I saw it was in Illinois! Wild! Beautiful waterfalls.

  5. There is something about Japanese gardens that is so lovely. That's pretty neat that they even had a tea house, but too bad it's not used as one.