Two Japanese Gardens in Alberta (Symbols of Japan-Canada Friendship)

October has arrived and the leaves are changing into various fall colours. In Japan, we call this season “fall for reading books”. So, our office would like to take the chance to introduce some topics mainly relating to Japan.

The first part of the series, our office would like to introduce two Japanese Gardens in Alberta to you. You can get a sense of Japanese spirituality and immerse yourself in tranquility. If you are a fan of Japan, you have probably already visited one, or both of the Gardens.

If you go to Lethbridge, "Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden" is a must-go place. (Please check opening days and hours on the Garden’s website.)

Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden
Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden
With enthusiastic support by many people, the Garden was officially opened for the public with the attendance of HIH Prince and Princess Takamatsu on July 14th, 1967 (the year of Canadian Centennial).

As the name suggests (“Nikka Yuko” means Japan-Canada friendship), the Garden is a good mixture of Japanese tradition and Canadian nature. While using traditional ideas, Japanese designers and experts planted trees which are seen in Southern Alberta and used rocks mined from the Crowsnest Pass of the Rockies. Tea Pavilion, Friendship Bell, etc. were constructed/casted in Kyoto.

On the 25th Anniversary in 1992, HIH Prince and Princess Takamado, as well as the 50th Anniversary in 2017, HIH Princess Ayako of Takamado family attended the celebrations.

The Bunka Centre (located outside the Garden) houses some ‘shiisas’ (Okinawan lion statues). Those were donated by Haebaru town, Lethbridge’s sister town in Okinawa prefecture.

(Main Source) Brochure of NIKKA YUKO JAPANESE GARDEN

Kurimoto Japanese Garden
Kurimoto Japanese Garden
We also have a hidden gem in Edmonton as well. That is the "Kurimoto Japanese Garden," which is a part of University of Alberta Botanic Garden. It is far from city centre, but this Garden is also worth visiting.

Opened in September 1990, the Garden is named after Dr. Yuichi Kurimoto, the first Japanese national to graduate from the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Arts in 1939. He is also the founder of current-Nagoya University of Commerce & Business (NUCB). Member of the House of Representatives Mr. Tatsuo Ozawa, and the then Chairman of the Japan-Canada Parliamentary Federation made great efforts to build the Garden.

HIH Prince and Princess Takamado enjoyed a tea ceremony at the Garden, when they attended an international conference hosted by the University of Alberta in 1999.

(Main source)

It would be worth noting that there is the "Prince Takamado Japan Centre for Teaching and Reserch," which is affiliated with the University of Alberta. The Centre was originally established as the Centre for the Teaching of Japanese Language and Culture (Japan Centre) in 1996. HIH Prince and Princess Takamado visited the University in 1999 and after HIH Prince Takamado’s demise in 2002, then-University of Alberta President Roderick Fraser asked HIS Princess for permission to use the name “Takamado” for the Centre’s name. The Centre changed its name to the current one on June, 2004.

(Main source)