Travel & Leisure Travel, Food & Drink

5 Asian Gardens to Visit Outside China and Japan

Largely influenced by Buddhist, Shinto, and Taoist philosophies, these five Asian gardens around the world can provide a sanctuary for visitors, and inspiration should you be considering creating your own Asian garden at home

Outside of Asia itself there are some spectacular examples of Asian gardens open to the public. Places to inspire, they offer the chance to see how your own Asian garden will change and grow, which plants and trees will thrive outside of their natural habitat, and what kind of ornamentation will bring the whole project to life.

Anderson Japanese Gardens, Rockford, Illinois, USA

Designed by landscape architect Hoichi Kurisu, this landmark has been delighting visitors for 40 years. Curator Tim Gruner’s highlights include the 16th century-style sukiya teahouse, the garden area around the guesthouse and a 50ft-high waterfall. Another wonderful reason to visit are the architectural components; guests are granted exclusive access to the 16th century Sukiya-style Guest House and the Laurent House–the only home designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright specifically for a client with a physical disability.

Anderson Japanese Garden Illinois Gate

Butchart Gardens, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

The Japanese Garden was created in the early part of the 20th century by Jennie Butchart and garden designer Isaburo Kishida, and is a National Historic Site of Canada. It contains some 500 azaleas and rhododendrons plus many classic Japanese features, and the leaf color in fall is spectacular.

Butchart japanese garden victoria british colombia

Chinese Garden of Friendship, Sydney, Australia

A serenely beautiful walled garden located rather incongruously in Sydney’s popular Darling Harbour. All of the traditional Chinese design details are present—from waterfalls and koi carp lakes to weeping willows and a teahouse serving Chinese tea and dim sum. It celebrates its 30th birthday this year.

The Chinese Garden of Friendship was built to mark Australia’s bicentenary in 1988, and to symbolize the friendship between Sydney, New South Wales and the city of Guangzhou, in the province of Guangdong, China. The Dragon Wall features two flying dragons and was a gift from Guangdong to New South Wales.

Parc Oriental de Maulévrier, Maine-et-Loire, Loire Valley, France

Authentic in its presentation, France’s largest Japanese-style garden was originally designed in the late 19th century and painstakingly restored in 1985. Azaleas, camellias, and cherry blossom bloom in spring, while meticulously “cloud-pruned” evergreens provide drama throughout the year. Water is ever-present and culminates in a large central lake, with beautiful reflections.

Parc oriental maulévrier loire france

Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, Oregon, USA

Many of Japan’s most revered garden styles are represented here, including a Tea Garden, a Strolling Pond Garden, and an expertly maintained Sand and Stone Garden. Japanese culture is celebrated, too, with tea ceremonies, koto music demonstrations, and ikebana (flower-arranging) workshops. There is also an exquisite bonsai terrace.

Portland Japanese Garden Cherry Blossoms