IMG_2125The sun will once again rise in the east of The Dawes Arboretum’s Japanese Garden!

Beginning Sunday, May 31, 2015, The Arboretum’s beloved garden will once again be open to visitors.  A celebration opening is planned for Saturday, May 30, 2015 at 6pm.  Honored guest Consul General of Japan, Dr. Katayama is scheduled to speak and help us kick off the 50th Anniversary of this garden.

Visitors to The Dawes Arboretum will notice many improvements to the Japanese Garden. Most notably, the trails through the garden have been updated to provide accessibility for all visitors. The 1,800 feet of trails have been rerouted to give better access to the garden. The paths have also been paved with an exposed aggregate, to keep the feel of gravel while making the path easier to walk on and maintain.

The Resting House has been renovated while maintaining its traditional minimalist style with cypress wood and a simple shape. The garden has also been expanded to include a new Katsura tree forest with four kinds of traditional trees that blend into the existing trees in the area. This addition provides a remedy for a previous drainage problem and creates a new system of streams and waterfalls that feed into the mirror pond. The result is an additional auditory element, heightening visitors’ senses during their visit to the already serene garden.

During renovation, the large pond was drained to enable workers to reset the boulders without harming any of the wildlife in the pond. The pond’s stepping-stones have been set so that they are no longer under water. Bridges to the two islands in the garden have been replaced with new white oak bridges original to the design and built from trees native to Licking County.

The Japanese Garden at The Dawes Arboretum was designed in 1963 by Dr. Makoto Nakamura, a lecturer in Landscape Architecture at the Kyoto University, Japan. The garden was one of the first and only gardens of its kind in central Ohio. While there have been two major renovation projects in the garden’s history, The Dawes Arboretum has worked to “preserve and maintain the vision” first set by Dr. Nakamura. The goal of this renovation was to follow through with the original intentions of the garden and make it more durable. Unchanged is the placement of the boulders in the karesansui (Japanese style rock garden) from Dr. Nakamura’s placement in the 1963 design and 1964 construction.

“We expect the Japanese Garden will continue to be a place of beauty, inspiration and most importantly, a visitor favorite for years to come,” said The Arboretum’s Executive Director Luke Messinger. “The garden represents an important cultural exchange as well as a unique gardening style and tradition, handed down for thousands of years.”

A donor sneak preview is scheduled for 4pm on May 30thfor those who contributed $100 or more to the renovation.  Donations are still being accepted, call The Arboretum Development at 740.44.Dawes to donate today.