The beautiful Anderson Japanese Gardens were set up by a local businessman John R. Anderson and a landscape architect Hoichi Kurisu in Rockford, Illinois. Constructed in 1978 on Anderson's home site, the 12-ac (4.86-ha) gardens were inspired not only by Anderson's trips to Japan but also his visit to the Portland Japanese Garden in Washington Park, Portland, Oregon.
The site represents a 13th-century "pond strolling" garden with several ponds and waterfalls, streams, winding paths, rock formations, and a sukiya style tea house. Here you will discover cloud pines, Japanese maples, magnolias, rhododendrons, and azaleas. Anderson Gardens is also home to several species of minks, colorful fish, and ducks.
Anderson Japanese Gardens host calligraphy and ikebana demonstrations, formal tea ceremonies, bonsai displays, and programs for students and adults. Educational programs here cover the arts, language, and culture of Japan. The site is a host for the annual Opening Day Celebration and Japanese Summer Festival, which includes celebrations of Japanese culture and Tuesday Evening featuring singers, songwriters, local food vendors, and cheerful atmosphere for the whole family to relish the gardens.
Anderson's outstanding work in promoting international mutual understanding and friendship between Japan and the USA wasn't lost on the Japanese government and was recognized with a commemorative silver cup. Since 1998, the gardens exist as a nonprofit organization, which continues to grow and change.
Anderson Japanese Gardens are open between May and October. Amateur photography in Anderson Japanese Gardens is encouraged. However, the professional one is only permitted with management approval. Also, many paths of the gardens that lead up to the Anderson home are forbidden.