Rockford’s iconic gardens may be in the heartland of America, but you’ll feel transported to Japan as you explore the winding paths, ponds and waterfalls.
Discover an authentic piece of the Far East in northeastern Illinois at Anderson Japanese Gardens. Take a leisurely, self-guided tour through the serene surroundings. Explore 12 acres (5 hectares) of rock formations, ponds, beautifully tended plants and other fascinating attractions.
Before you start your garden tour, stop in the Gift Shop and purchase food for the koi. Toss it in the ponds and see the water ripple with activity as the large, colorful fish surface to feast.
Walk along beautifully landscaped paths winding around waterfalls, ponds and rock formations. See small pagodas and other Sukiya-style buildings throughout the gardens. This traditional architectural style, popular in Japan in the 16th century, features simple lines and airy spaces.
Japanese maples, pines and a variety of bright flowers make the gardens burst with colors. Blue irises bring spring beauty while red maples reflect in autumn waters. Admire the bronze angel sculptures by Carl Milles in the Garden of Reflection. See fish surface to snack on beetles. Continue over the Cypress Bridge, past tumbling waterfalls and Sukiya-style teahouses and guesthouses. Walk around the serene Pond Strolling Garden or simply sit on the pond’s shores and relax.
Reserve a spot on a guided group tour or allow at least an hour to visit the gardens on your own. The gardens offer such a pleasant and relaxing environment that you will want to take your time strolling leisurely along the paths. Get refreshments at the on-site restaurant, Fresco at the Gardens. Sit inside or outside to enjoy breakfast, lunch or a tasty snack. The restaurant is open year-round.
Drive under 2 hours west from Chicago to visit Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford daily from May through October. Purchase your entry ticket at the front desk or become an Anderson Japanese Gardens Member for complimentary admission. Children under 5 years of age have free admission and seniors and students pay a reduced rate. The paths throughout the gardens are covered in crushed stones, making most of it accessible for strollers and wheelchairs. Inquire through the website if you’re interested in reserving the gardens for weddings and wedding photography.