Anderson Gardens hosts Japanese Summer Festival Aug. 24-25

Staff Report

Anderson Japanese Gardens, 318 Spring Creek Road, Rockford, will host its second annual Japanese Summer Festival from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 24-25.

As a result of the overwhelming positive response following last year’s festival, the celebration of traditional cultural arts has been expanded to two days.

The weekend features authentic cultural demonstrations and performances throughout the day designed to introduce guests to various aspects of the Japanese culture.

Following is a sampling of the entertainment: Taiko drum performances (Japanese drum ensemble); Candyman performances (Japanese street performer); Koto performances (Japanese stringed instrument); Origami (hands-on demonstrations of Japanese art of paper folding); Sumi-e brush painting demonstrations (traditional Japanese art form); Bunjikan performances (traditional Japanese martial arts); calligraphy demonstrations; lecture and book signing for Quiet Beauty: The Japanese Gardens of North America by Dr. Kendall Brown; Raku pottery (demonstration and displays); Bonsai display (Japanese art form of miniature trees grown in containers); and Ikebana display (traditional Japanese art of flower arranging).

Performances and demonstrations will take place in the Visitor Center and throughout the Gardens. The Japanese Summer Festival is free for Anderson Japanese Gardens members and is the cost of general admission ($8 adults, $7 ages 62 and older, $6 students, and free for children younger than 5) for non-members.

An important part of the Japanese culture revolves around tea. There will be multiple tea ceremonies conducted both days by the members of Urasenke Tankokai, led by Kimiko Gunji. Gunji is professor emeritus of Japanese arts and culture in the School of Art & Design, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the former director of Japan House at the University of Illinois.

Tea ceremonies will be hosted in the authentic Chisokuan Teahut and will take place at 11 a.m., 12:15 p.m., 1:30 p.m., and 2:45 p.m. both days. The cost is $10 for participants, and space is limited to 10 guests per ceremony.

New this year, guests will have the chance to experience Tenshin (a light meal) and tea in the garden’s sukiya-style Guest House. The lunches will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. both days. This exclusive tea gathering will be hosted by Gunji and is limited to 15 participants. The cost for a traditional Japanese lunch is $45. Lunch will be followed by tea and sweets.

Reservations are required for all tea events. For additional information and to make a reservation, contact Katie Weston at (815) 316-3306 or

From the Aug. 21-27, 2013, issue

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