Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens in Lethbridge, Alberta is certainly one that every tourist to this area should visit. The beauty of the area around Lethbridge provides an incredible setting for this serene traditional Japanese garden.
The Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens were first created during the Canadian Centennial in 1967, and sits on four acres. Since Lethbridge is such a multi-cultural community, the gardens were built to honor those citizens of Japanese ancestry, as a symbol of international amity, and in fact, the name 'Ni' is derived from Nihon and 'Ka' from Kanada (Canada). It means 'Japanese-Canadian friendship'.
There are several buildings in the Nikka Yuko Gardens that include a sukiya-style pavilion azumaya shelter, teahouse, and bell tower, which were built of yellow cypress that was handcrafted by Japanese carpenters in Kyoto, shipped, and reassembled, in Lethbridge. Visitors will also see numerous stone lanterns that were also carved by Japanese artists in Kyoto, and carefully placed for aesthetic lighting. The five-tiered stone pagoda signifies, earth, air, fire, water, and sky.
With the nearby mountains, one of the most available characteristic of this garden is the use of the local rocks, which are millions of years old. Utilizing local resources, water, sand, trees, plants, stones, and rocks are employed in a variety of ways throughout the Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens. Visitors are treated to mountains and waterfalls, streams and bridges, ponds and islands, a dry rock garden, and a prairie garden; all incorporating plants native to North America and each vastly different, but serene and pleasing to the eye.