Peace and Serenity Prevail at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park’s New Japanese Garden


A visit to Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids, Michigan guarantees fuel to the soul and creative inspiration. The new addition of the Richard and Helen DeVos Japanese Garden this June adds another stronghold of natural wonder with peace and serenity at every corner.

Peace and Serenity Prevail at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park’s New Japanese Garden

A stunning waterfall providing serenity

During our visit to Meijer Gardens this summer, our family let out a collective gasp of wonderment upon our initial turn through the Japanese Garden. The result of over four years of creation, the garden now seemingly effortlessly displays artistry and tranquility throughout. Poised among two ponds and other water features, the garden offered us varies vantage points where we could just stand for a moment and be at peace.

Rocks, water and plants are the three essential elements of a Japanese garden and each is magically interwoven in the garden at Meijer Gardens. The plants add further depth to the scenery by changing throughout the seasons.  The Japanese Garden incorporates traditional Japanese plants intermingled with plants native to Michigan as well as other temperate climates to create this changeable landscape. Japanese maples, Japanese flowering cherries, serviceberries, and bamboo are featured.

A walk up the hill in the Japanese Garden is not to be missed. A spiral path wound us to the summit where several perches gave us amazing views of the entire garden. The only way to describe the view is breathtaking. 

Peace and Serenity Prevail at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park’s New Japanese Garden

Breathtaking view of the garden from the summit of hill in the garden

In the Japanese Garden, we also found sculptures interwoven in the landscape. An authentic Japanese tea house rests in the garden and is open on select days for the public to enter.  To enter the house, visitors are asked to remove their shoes and it is suggested they wear clean socks. A nice way to promote a little more grounding and serenity!

Japanese elements are found throughout

Japanese elements are found throughout

The garden is not one to rush through but rather a place to stroll, pause and ponder. In addition to the main paths, you will discover little places to duck and just enjoy the scenery. 

While the paths are easy to negotiate, there are a few spots that maybe tough for large strollers. Additionally, some areas have narrow paths permitting fewer visitors in each spot. This enhances your ability to achieve peace in the garden, so be mindful of other guests moving back and forth in these areas. Overall, the Japanese Garden is not the place to be in a hurry, so just relax and enjoy being in the present!

Peace and Serenity Prevail at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park’s New Japanese Garden

Walking through, in, and around water features will inspire you to just be and enjoy the present moment 

We loved Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park from the beginning to the end of our visit. We found so many sections that captivated us and inspired us through the melding of nature and sculpture. But the Japanese Garden, in particular, left us with that sense of serenity we all need to allow us to breathe, have a little escape from life, and contemplate. What a wonderful addition!


Melissa Schwartz is a contributor and editor of A Little Time, and a Keyboard, a hyper-local blog in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago. She also manages the social media for Norton's U.S.A., a general store in Barrington, Illinois only selling products made in the U.S.A. She has a passion for traveling a little off the beaten path and finding gems that others have overlooked. She especially enjoys creating special travel memories with her husband and 10-year-old daughter.

Photos courtesy and copyright Melissa Schwartz