Japan House and the surrounding gardens are a true gem in Champaign-Urbana. You can celebrate at the Matsuri Festival, see the Sakura trees at the Spring Open House, or even cry in your car. Another way I enjoy this garden is to go on walks in the winter. There’s something about the lovely walkways, the lake, and the variety of plants that distract from the freezing temperature and the fact that I’m wearing 42 layers. The website points out that “instead of bright color and symmetry, these gardens focus on green foliage and natural shapes of plants. The design of the gardens creates an extraordinarily peaceful and tranquil environment.” And honestly it does.
Everyone has their own way of walking the paths, I prefer the south parking lot entrance to get to the park, go through the pine trees, step out in front of the lake, then I turn right towards the willow tree near the water.
My favorite part of the gardens are the lovely little areas that seem to be made for relaxing in nature. The little island with the giant sycamore trees, the bridge over the pond full of turtles and coy fish, and the path with swirls of rocks make the cold weather not seem so bad.
There are many books and articles out in the world (and on our site too) about the idea of embracing all seasons and one of those ways is to get out into the weather, no matter what season it is. So if you need a place to encourage you, this might be the one, it is for me.