Discover the Normandale Japanese Garden

Posted by Kris Lindahl on Tuesday, January 20th, 2015 at 9:15am.

Normandale Japanese Garden - Image Credit:

The Japanese Garden of Normandale Community College is located in Bloomington, Minnesota. It’s a two-acre oasis on the campus offering a beautiful and serene garden for all to enjoy. It’s the perfect place to reflect and renew your spirit.

It’s open all year at no cost to the public and is often rented for special events. You can take a self-guided tour all year and experience the beautiful gardens at Normandale. Here is a look at what the Normandale Japanese Garden is like.

History of the gardens

The Japanese Garden at Normandale was built by the Bloomington Affiliated Garden Clubs when plans first came out in 1967. The college campus was still being developed at that time and the garden clubs raise funds to build it. The college donated the two acres of land as well as a portion of Green Heron Pond. Takao Watanabe, a professional garden architect from Tokyo, Japan, offered design services for the projects and is the reason the gardens have been so successful.

The gardens opened in 1972 and a dedication ceremony took place in 1976. Many companies and individuals volunteered their time, money and materials to make the construction happen. The area behind Normandale, while once swampy, was now transformed into a beautiful Japanese Garden.

Touring the Garden

Upon entry you’ll see the stones on the floor because rock symbolizes timelessness and quietness. They make up the skeleton of the garden and give it character and strength. The rocks here are Minnesota granite. When you enter you’ll see the Square Shelter made of stucco, cedar shakes and cedar to retreat and view the natural pond.

There is a hexagon-shaped building called the Bentendo made of redwood in the Garden’s lagoon named after the goddess of fortune. The drum-shaped bridge called the Taiko-bashi crosses over the Bentendo.

Water is an important element found in the garden with the Waterfall cascading into the lagoon over and over again. The Garden Lagoon was made from the Green Heron Pond and fish were stocked in the pond from the Loring Park Lake in Minneapolis.

You can take the cedar steps to a Round Shelter with an umbrella roof to view reflections from the Garden lagoon. There is a red Flat Bridge, and a Zig-Zag Bridge in the garden where the stream flows.

When you visit the garden you’ll see flowers, trees, bright colors, bridges, buildings to retreat to and stones everywhere. It’s a truly beautiful experience located at 9700 France Avenue South in Bloomington.

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