The Nikka Yuko • We Are YEG on Assignment YEG to YQL
Our province has a rich and varied history. For many of us much of this history is taught to us in school, but how many of us really appreciate such lessons at that age. Recently #WeAreYEG had a sneak preview of the Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden in Lethbridge, in addition we had the opportunity to brush up on our Alberta heritage, and some Japanese. The Garden officially opens on May 7.
Established during Canada's Centennial in 1967, the Nikka Yuko was built to recognize the contribution of Canadians of Japanese ancestry to the multi-cultural community of Lethbridge, Alberta. The name of the Garden in Japanese is the amalgamation of "Ni", meaning Japanese, and "Ka" derived from Kanada (Canada). The second word "Yuko" means friendship; therefore Japan-Canada Friendship.
The Garden is authentically Japanese. Japanese garden designer and landscape architect Tadashi Kubo, of the Osaka Prefecture University was commissioned to design a garden that was not only representative of the Southern Alberta landscape but also the culture too. The main architectural elements, such as the Tea House are made of yellow cypress, all were hand crafted in Kyoto, shipped, and assembled at the Garden by master Kyoto tradesmen.
The Nikka Yuko garden is situated on the east side of Henderson Lake, and design elements incorporate shakkei or ‘borrowed view’ valued in Japanese garden philosophy and aesthetics. This very Japanese concept creates an environment that allows man-made structures to harmonize with the natural surroundings, a fundamental Zen principle. Stone lanterns, a bell tower, the azumaya shelter, gates and bridges are all of original Japanese manufacture, and are placed in such a way for maximum visual and spiritual enjoyment of the Nikka Yuko.
In history, the majority of Japanese Canadians originally settled in Southern Alberta, not by choice, but as a result of the internment during the Second World War. However, despite the reason for their migration, and how history has painted the events of that War, the Nikka Yuko represents a legacy that is far-reaching, fundamentally positive, and is a great example of what it means to be a human, an Albertan, and a Canadian in this modern age.
Although the water features were not restored at the time, and much of the Garden was still in transition from the winter, I certainly had "Zen" moments. I look forward to May 7 when it officially opens for the season. Thank you Nikka Yuko and Mana for showing me around, all the best this 2016 season! 頑張って!
Interested in checking out what's up at the Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden this season? Here are some notable dates:
May 5/6 Children Day –Celebration of Golden Week.
May 7th Garden Opens
July 9th Summer Celebration-Minyo Dancer/Taiko Drumming, etc
July 14th 49th Anniversary
August 10th Toro Nagashi-Water Lanterns/Taiko Drumming, etc
For a comprehensive listing visit their website • Nikka Yuko Events
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