This magnificent Japanese Garden had its origins in 1959 with "Duke" Yoshimura's guidance. Yoshimura was born in Sacramento and raised in Japan, and had returned to the United States, entering high school to learn English. After World War II, "Duke" would come to serve in the armed forces where he was also teaching judo.
In 1959, "Duke" came to work in Micke Grove Park, requesting permission from Mr. William Micke to create a Japanese Garden for the Japanese community to show solidarity with the San Joaquin County people. Mr. Micke thought it was a wonderful idea, and set the garden aside three acres.
A Stockton, Lodi and French Camp residents ' committee was created to collect $5,000 in donations and approximately 100 hours of volunteer work from each member of the Japanese Gardeners Club.
"Duke" approached Nagao Sakurai, who had worked at the Imperial Palace in Japan for 20 years as a landscape architect before he came to design gardens in the USA. Surrounding the garden are 60 Kwanzan flowering cherry trees with five Akibono flowering cherry trees in the garden's central area.
In the garden, three religions exert influence. Shintoism is expressed in the use of stones, Buddhism in the use of lanterns is visible, and Taoism is manifested in the islands.
The garden includes 11 lanterns, all of which are stone except for one which is concrete. Lodi's sister city donated the five-story pagoda lantern located on the north hill; Kofu, Japan. Fire, water, earth, air and atmosphere are depicted in each story. The long rod above has nine rings and a kinship with Buddha. The flame shaped tip denotes fire protection.
For 200 years Koi fish have been known to live in the water. The fish can grow to three feet in length, with ring marks on their scales designating age. Colours: red, blue, green, gray, black and yellow.
The angle bridge of the garden reflects the conviction of the Chinese that evil spirits are moving in a low straight line, therefore unable to navigate this path. Meanwhile the red arch bridge has a traditional Japanese style and contains eight bronze lotus flower bud finishes.
The large building in the garden is a pavilion designed by Stockton's Hoji Wada who also designed the entrance gate to the garden. It provides a beautiful backdrop to famous outdoor weddings in the backyard.
This amazing park is located near the following parks in Lodi, California:
Micke Grove Regional Park
Japanese Garden in Micke Grove Park
Oak Grove Regional Park
All of these wonderful parks are located just a short distance from our Stockton location, 2613 Waterloo Road in neighboring Stockton! Stop by anytime!