Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens, Lethbridge

 Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, Lethbridge. Pavilion

I'm fond of visiting gardens and enjoy their beauty and tranquility.  This seems especially true of the Japanese Gardens I've visited, which combine the various elements -- carefully pruned trees and shrubs, flowing and still water, and meticulously positioned rocks -- in a balanced and pleasing manner.

 

Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, Lethbridge

 

One of the last places I expected to find a beautiful Japanese Garden was on the vast Canadian prairies, specifically in the small city of Lethbridge, Alberta.   The Nikka Yuko garden opened in 1967 as part of Canada's 100th birthday celebration.  The garden covers just 4 acres in Henderson Park, but seems larger.  It was built to recognize the contributions of the Japanese community to Lethbridge, and as a symbol of international friendship between the people of Japan and Canada.

 

Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, Lethbridge

Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, Lethbridge. Ticket Office (ticket office outside the garden)

 

The garden was designed by Dr. Tadashi Kubo, a landscape architect from Osaka.  The pavilion, bell tower, bridges and gates were built in Japan, shipped to Canada, and reassembled in Lethbridge.  The grounds required several years of careful preparation, but everyone worked hard to create an authentic Japanese Garden on the prairie landscape.  Japan’s Prince and Princess Takamatsu attended its grand opening celebration.

 

Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, Lethbridge.


The Garden has a full calendar of events throughout the season including traditional tea ceremonies, guided tours, moonlight strolls, and art exhibits.  
I visited in the spring, before there were many blooming plants.  I'd like to return again sometime in the fall to enjoy the beautiful autumn colors of the garden.

 

Some of the features of the garden which I enjoyed included:

 

The Well....  

Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, Lethbridge. Well

Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, Lethbridge. Pulley

Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, Lethbridge. buckets

Built with a forested setting, the well is the source of clean freshwater used for the traditional tea ceremony.  

 

The Pavilion....

Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, Lethbridge. Pavilion

Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, Lethbridge. Pavilion

Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, Lethbridge. Pavilion

A lovely traditional structure with sliding doors.  You remove your shoes as you enter and....

Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, Lethbridge. Pavilion

see the traditional 17th century-styled interior.  You'll be greeted by one or more friendly hostesses....

Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, Lethbridge. Pavilion

 

Just outside the pavilion is a dry rock garden

Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, Lethbridge. Rock Garden

 

The Bell Tower....

Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, Lethbridge. Bell

Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, Lethbridge. Bell

Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, Lethbridge. Bell

Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, Lethbridge. bell

A lovely bell cast in Japan.  

 

The Paths....

Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, Lethbridge.

Intentionally curved to limit your field of view.

 

The Bridges.... 

Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, Lethbridge.

Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, Lethbridge.

Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, Lethbridge.

 

The Waterfall....

Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, Lethbridge. Mountain and waterfall

 

The Stream....

Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, Lethbridge.

Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, Lethbridge

 

and the Pond.... 

Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, Lethbridge.

Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, Lethbridge.

 

This video clip gives you a nice view of the central area of the Nikka Yuko Gardens, near the pond.

 

So if your travels bring you to what for many is a remote destination, take a half day to explore and enjoy this splendid garden.

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Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

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