On a lovely day, there's nothing better to do in Lawrence than take a walk downtown on Massachusetts Street. Along the way, I happened to see a group of women dressed in kimonos at the Japanese Friendship Garden raising money for the survivors of the tragedies in Japan. There was a drummer performing and women were taking pictures of passers-by posing in kimonos. I passed (mostly because I'm not fond of having my picture taken) but did enjoy the opportunity to see a beautiful natural oasis in downtown Lawrence.
The Japanese Friendship Garden represents the cultural ties with Hiratsuka and Lawrence. It was built to honor the 10 year anniversary of Lawrence's relationship with its sister city, Hiratsuka, Japan. Hiratsuka sent representatives to Lawrence to help design, plan and work on the project. Hiratsuka shipped two major pieces from Japan, a lantern and a 15' stone tower to be displayed in the garden. Approximately 50 delegates from Hiratsuka, including Mayor Itsuo Yoshino and nine other city officials, traveled to Lawrence to attend the dedication ceremony, which was held on October 26, 2000.
The natural flora and fauna of the garden are inspired by our sister city: Japanese maples, yoshino cherry trees, yews, bamboo, juniper, and mugho pines as well as azaleas, spirea, viburnum, Siberian iris, and peonies. With the interesting artwork, beautiful landscaping, and quiet, shady gazebo this is a lovely downtown Lawrence oasis to wander for a moment or to relax and enjoy for an entire sunny afternoon.
Total Time Traveled: 15 minutes
Total Distance Traveled: 4.5 miles
Soundtrack: 102.1 FM