We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“A beautiful garden experience”

Anderson Japanese Gardens
Ranked #1 of 26 things to do in Rockford
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: OPEN SEASONALLY MAY 1 - OCTOBER 31: Anderson Japanese Gardens is proud of its longstanding reputation as one of the highest quality Japanese gardens in North America. Our passion, however, is how the Garden positively impacts individuals and the communities where they live. We are committed to presenting first-class programs, events, and opportunities that bring people together in this uplifting natural setting.
Reviewed September 2, 2013

My wife and I recently visited the Anderson Japanese Gardens with friends visiting from Philadelphia. We all were very impressed with the meticulous care the gardens receive, and the landscaping was done with thought and attention to detail. The admission charge of $8 per adult was very reasonable for the experience once receives.
A very large amount of planting has been done over several decades to create what we believe is a very authentic Japanese garden setting. There are a large number of exotic trees, shrubs and flowers, especially Japanese maples, viburnums, dogwoods, hostas and various conifers. This diversity of smaller plants is balanced against the canopy of large, older bur oak, cottonwoods, and other native hardwoods present before the garden was created. oddly enough, the two groups of species work well together. Given the species mix, the springtime (we only saw the garden in August) would be the best time to view flowers - it must be spectacular when trees and shrubs are in bloom. But even in summer, the placement of the plants, the contours created by stones, water, gravel grass, etc. make for a number of dramatic views. The waterfall offers perhaps the most dramatic view, but Japanese gardens are mostly not about the 'oohs and aahs' of size and power but rather the details and symbols captured in a microcosm of a large ecosystem. In this sense the Anderson Gardens is very well done.
Allow 2-3 hours to walk at a leisurely pace to discover the hidden views and smaller spaces. And do not hesitate to ask one of the docents (guides) questions you may have. We found the several guides on hand that day to be accessible, knowledgeable, and genuinely interested in helping visitors have a good experience.
If there is a drawback to the gardens, it is that only parts are wheelchair accessible. Some paths and stone walks are simply too steep or narrow to accommodate handicap access. I was initially concerned that the close proximity of a major road would add too much background noise, but the vegetation screens and absorbs most sounds, and the running water drowns out street noise. It is also unfortunate that the gardens close at the end of October so late fall, winter and early spring views are not available. This is unfortunate as I think most Japanese gardens offer very different experiences depending on the season. But snow and ice probably make for hazardous walking in may places - too bad.
Overall, the Anderson Gardens are a wonderful addition to the region. More people should discover this 'hidden treasure' right in our midst, but large crowds would start to detract from the overall experience.

1  Thank OregonSlim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a ReviewReviews (747)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
  • More languages
All reviews
"gardens are beautiful"
in 22 reviews
"tea house"
in 23 reviews
"koi fish"
in 28 reviews
"beautiful place"
in 38 reviews
"gift shop"
in 32 reviews
"tuesday night"
in 8 reviews
"united states"
in 11 reviews
"water features"
in 18 reviews
"take your time"
in 8 reviews
"bring your camera"
in 10 reviews
"enjoy nature"
in 8 reviews
"from chicago"
in 9 reviews
"rockford area"
in 14 reviews
"visiting rockford"
in 8 reviews
"love this place"
in 9 reviews
in 39 reviews
in 63 reviews

580 - 584 of 747 reviews

Reviewed August 24, 2013

These gardens are magnificent and such a surprise, who would have expected this quality in a city the size of Rockford? It is a gem that must be visited

Thank Zabelle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 23, 2013

It was a lot of fun, a lot of beautiful scenery, and gardening. Fun for a good date night, not so fun with a family with a baby, its hard to get around with strollers.

1  Thank LeonardB727
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 17, 2013

I have been anxious to check out Anderson Japanese Gardens since I moved to this area. I had heard that it is a world-class Japanese garden. I would say that there are areas of great beauty in it. And photo ops galore. But other than walking around and looking at the vistas, there isn't much to do. And I'm saying that as an older lady, not a short-attention-span teenager. I guess everyone who lives in the Rockford area should check it out at least once, but I wouldn't drive too far out of my way to go there. And an important note - this is not a place to wear sandals or flip-flops. The paths are finely crushed gravel. I was very glad I had my walking shoes on.

2  Thank Arleen H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
See more reviews
Reviewed August 14, 2013

Even though I have lived in Rockford for over 20 years, I always look forward to an opportunity to share this beautiful place with friends or family. So many times people in Rockford don't even realize what a special and unique place we have been blessed with here. I love the natural setting. It is a great place to enjoy by yourself or with others. In July, my husband and I went there with my daughter, my month old grandaughter, and my cousins. My cousins have 3 highly active children, ages 9, 12 and 15. The environment allowed them plenty of space to move around freely and yet not disturb others who would like solitude in this natural and lush setting. I highly recommend this special place for people of all ages.

2  Thank saltnlite
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Been to Anderson Japanese Gardens? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing