With camera in hand I recently paid a visit to Nitobe Memorial Garden which is located within the grounds of the University of British Columbia. This Japanese style garden is dedicated to Dr. Inazo Nitobe who was a writer, professor, and keen agriculturalist as well as Undersecretary for the League of Nations, and President of Tokyo’s first women’s university. Throughout his life he worked on creating a strong bond between Japan and the West.
The original gardens were constructed after Nitobe’s death in 1933. However during World War ll these original gardens were vandalized and it wasn’t until the 1950’s that the decision to rebuild the gardens was made. Kannosuke Mori, a famous landscape architect from Japan, was commissioned to construct the look of the new gardens. He came to the university in 1959 and spent 14 months designing and planting the area.
Plants were chosen and shipped from Japan with Mori deciding on placements of lanterns, rocks and stones, as well as each shrub and tree. He also helped to train landscapers on the proper maintenance of the garden. His eye for detail is present throughout the grounds.
The garden was completed in 1960 and although only 2 1/2 acres in size there is plenty to see and enjoy. It is especially stunning in the autumn with the leaves on the trees changing to red, gold, and orange, and the reflection in the pond highlighting the beauty of these colours.
Wandering in the garden you will definitely feel the peacefulness and harmony that Mori was able to create here. It has been said that Nitobe Memorial Garden is one of the most authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan.
Nitobe Memorial Garden is open Wednesdays to Sundays. Check here for more information on visiting the garden. I would also recommend a trip to Van Dusen Garden, gorgeous in any season, and spectacular during the Christmas holidays when they do their light display. Check it out here.