This garden was a gift to the city of Mishawaka from its sister city, Shiojiri (Nagano Prefecture, Japan). The designer was Shoji Kanaoka, the same man who planned the Japanese gardens at the Epcot Center in Florida. It features a multitude of trees and flowers, including a grove of cherry trees. There are also two snow lanterns, four bridges, and a teahouse pavilion built in the traditional Japanese style.
As typical of Japanese style, every feature of the garden was well thought out in advance and has a reason for why it is there. For instance, the trees are quite contorted, which makes them appear older than they actually are. There is intentionally no water in the pond, but the stones at its bottom do form a rippled pattern that visitors are not allowed to set foot in that area. The path through the garden is reminiscent of the path in the Candy Land board game—it curves, bends, and wanders, and has no perfectly straight lines.
The garden naturally makes for a great place to take pictures, and it can be reserved for special events through the city of Mishawaka’s Parks Department.
Know Before You Go
When coming off of I-90 (the Toll Road), take exit 83.
Go southbound on State Road 331 (Capital Avenue) until crossing the St. Joseph River, take a right at the first intersection you come across, and go westward on State Route 933 (Lincoln Way). Continue westward until arriving at Byrkit Ave., then head northward. Take the road the full way northward, and turn left onto Mishawaka Avenue. The garden will be on the south side of the street after crossing the intersection with Indiana Avenue. It will also be across the street from Merrifield Park's main parking lot, on the north side of the street.