Pomona, CA 91768
One might not expect to hear the soothing sounds of a waterfall or enjoy a serene spot near sasa bamboo at a bustling state university such as Cal Poly Pomona. One also might not expect to see an authentic Japanese garden near a futuristic landmark such as the Classroom/Laboratory/Administration building; however, it comes as no surprise that the new George and Sakaye Aratani Japanese Garden has already become a popular campus destination.
The garden was completed last summer thanks to George Aratani, chairman emeritus of Mikasa and Kenwood Americas, and his wife, Sakaye. The Aratanis provided a lead gift along with the estate of the late Japanese-American author and humanitarian Michi Nishiura Weglyn. Many other donors also contributed to the privately funded garden, which was fittingly designed around an existing pine tree and natural spring-fed pond at the heart of the 1,438-acre campus. The 1.3-acre area was poised to flourish with the traditional Asian flora it now features. A large reflection pond, overlook bridges, walkways and a small amphitheater are elements that were incorporated into the garden.
'The garden will display the unique plants of East Asia and traditional details of the Japanese garden in addition to a tranquil and serene atmosphere,' says Cal Poly Pomona professor of landscape architecture Takeo Uesugi, who designed the Aratani Garden.
The Japanese garden evolved from garden landscaping into a traditional art form that has become an important part of Japanese culture. They are known the world over for inspiring quiet reflection, secluded leisure and meditation. The gardens represent elements of nature and have an ancient history influenced by Shinto, Buddhist and Taoist philosophies that add a spiritual component.
Not only does the Aratani Garden foster an appreciation of nature and serve as a cultural and aesthetic resource for the community but also provides a living example of the respected landscaping method that will be integrated into future academic programs.
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