The Ultimate Guide To Anderson Japanese Gardens

The Ultimate Guide To Anderson Japanese Gardens

The Ultimate Guide To Anderson Japanese Gardens

Anderson Japanese Gardens, a glimpse of Japan in Illinois!

With several gardens, streams, ponds, waterfalls, and Japanese structures, Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford, Illinois, is home to incredible scenic beauty!

The Anderson Japanese Gardens, one of the best Japanese Gardens outside Japan and the best in the US, is a Japanese-style landscape with beautiful gardens featuring tranquil nature! The 12 acres of beautiful landscape at Anderson Japanese Gardens contains Japanese-style gardens, several ponds with fishes, cascading waterfalls, and many Japanese structures offering an authentic experience of Japan and an escape to a calm and serene nature, just a few miles from the bustling Chicago Downtown!

John R. Anderson, a businessman of Rockford, Illinois, inspired by Japanese architecture and aesthetics after his trip to Japan and the Portland Japanese Garden in Oregon, decided to create his own Japanese Garden with the help of a master architect Hoichi Kurisi and started the construction in 1978. The garden was later donated to a non-profit organization by John and his wife, Linda Anderson, and now open to the public and rented for weddings and corporate events. 

Explore the Gardens yourself or on a guided tour, feed the fishes, marvel at Japanese-style structures, and dine at the popular Fresco restaurant in Anderson Japanese Gardens!

Anderson Japanese Gardens is open outside the winter months, May through October, and offers self-guided and guided private and group tours of the Gardens. The self-guided tours are self-paced and have no time restrictions. The guided tours of the Garden last for two hours and are led by the staff members, but you can spend as much time you wish inside the Garden post your guided tour. The Garden has a visitor center and a restaurant, Fresco in the Garden, serving breakfast and lunch, which is open year-round. 

Here is my ultimate guide to Anderson Japanese Gardens, featuring essential trip-planning information, things to do, nearby attractions, and recommendations on hotels and restaurants near Anderson Japanese Gardens!

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Planning Your Trip To Anderson Japanese Gardens

Planning Your Trip To Anderson Japanese Gardens

Anderson Japanese Gardens, located about 85 miles from downtown Chicago, is a great summer day-trip destination from Chicago! 

Best Time To Visit Anderson Japanese Gardens: The Anderson Japanese Gardens is open only outside the winter months, May through October, due to the harsh winter conditions in the state of Illinois. However, the restaurant in Anderson Japanese Gardens, the Fresco in the Garden, is open year-round. Summer is the peak season in the Gardens, but if you don’t mind slightly cooler temperatures, it’s a great destination during late spring and fall. 

Getting To Anderson Japanese Gardens: The best and most comfortable way to get to Anderson Japanese Gardens is by flying into Chicago O’Hare International Airport and then driving to Anderson Japanese Gardens located in Rockford, Illinois. Alternatively, you could also take a train or a bus to Chicago and then drive to the Gardens.

  • Flight: Chicago O’Hare International Airport is the closest major airport to Anderson Japanese Gardens and is serviced by several airlines. Located about 70 miles from Anderson Japanese Gardens, O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Chicago, Illinois, is the best airport to get to Chicago, from where you could rent a car and drive to Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford.
  • Train: Chicago Union Station, located in downtown Chicago, connects several cities and states to Chicago and is also a major hub for several train networks in the US.
  • Bus: Greyhound offers bus services to Chicago, with the nearest Greyhound bus stop to Anderson Japanese Gardens located in Rockford, Illinois. 

Time Required At Anderson Japanese Gardens: Encompassing 12 acres, Anderson Japanese Gardens is a sprawling garden with several sections and points of interest. I recommend spending at least 2 – 3 hours exploring the gardens, the tea house, several Japanese-style structures, artworks, and getting a bite at the popular Fresco in the Garden restaurant when visiting Anderson Japanese Gardens.

Parking At Anderson Japanese Gardens: There’s ample on-site parking available at Anderson Japanese Gardens, with the main parking lot located near the entrance and an overflow parking lot situated on the east side of the Gardens. 

Other Attractions Near Anderson Japanese Gardens: There’re a few other attractions in the Rockford area that you could visit on your trip to Anderson Japanese Gardens, including a few museums and parks.

  • Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens: Located about 1 mile from Anderson Japanese Gardens, the Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens is a conservatory featuring artworks, sculptures, and tropical plants.
  • Rockford Art Museum: The Rockford Art Museum features a generous collection of artwork, including paintings and photographs, from local and national artists. The Rockford Art Museum is located along the west shore of Rock River, about 2.5 miles southwest of Anderson Japanese Gardens.
  • Discovery Center Museum: Located just adjacent to Rockford Art Museum, about 2.5 miles from Anderson Japanese Gardens, Discovery Center Museum is home to several exciting scientific exhibits housed indoors and outdoors in the science park.
  • Bahá’í House of Worship: Though not as close as other attractions, the Bahá’í House of Worship, located about 90 miles from Anderson Japanese Gardens, is a great place to learn about Bahá’í Religion and experience one of the most intricately designed structures in the US. 

Hotels Near Anderson Japanese Gardens: Given Anderson Japanese Garden’s proximity to Chicago, it’s a popular day-trip destination from Chicago, and most people return back to downtown Chicago in the evening, where you will find some of the best hotels in Illinois. However, if you wish to stay close to Anderson Japanese Gardens, you will find quite a few good hotels and bread and breakfasts in the town of Rockford, Illinois. 

Restaurants Near Anderson Japanese Gardens: You must try the Fresco in the Garden restaurant located in Anderson Japanese Gardens when visiting the Gardens. However, you will also find quite a few dining options in Rockford, ranging from chain restaurants to local restaurants. Here’re my top picks for restaurants in Rockford that you could try on your trip to Anderson Japanese Gardens – The Olympic Tavern for delicious American fare, Sahara Palace for Mediterranean food, Johnny Pamcakes – an old-school American diner, and Lino’s for some great Italian food.

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The Ultimate Guide To Anderson Japanese GardensI hope you enjoyed reading the post, The Ultimate Guide To Anderson Japanese Gardens, and I hope this will help you plan your trip to the Anderson Japanese Gardens. You can find other Illinois attractions in my Illinois Travel Guide.

Happy feeding your soul!

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