Urashima Taro (Japanese Garden)

The Japanese Garden at Fairytale Town was first installed in 1961. The centerpiece of the garden is a statue of Urashima Taro – the Fisherman and the Turtle. This ancient tale features a noble young fisherman who is rewarded for rescuing a turtle by being taken to a fabulous undersea kingdom where he lives for many years in the company of a beautiful princess.

Largely sponsored by the Senator Lions Club and other generous community members, the Japanese Garden has been rejuvenated with new architecture and landscaping, and will continue to foster the tranquil theme of its predecessor, with elements such as a waterfall pond, an open area surrounded with beautiful landscaping, Asian-inspired plantings and stone garden architecture and benches.

This garden is home to a variety of plants often featured in Asian gardening, including a Magnolia soleangeana, a breathtaking early-spring bloomer with fragrant cream and pink flowers. Cherry trees blossom in spring as well, and ginkos provide lush green shade in the summer. Their golden leaves float in the pond in the fall, a bright contrast to the deep reds of eight Japanese maples situated throughout the garden. The central feature of the garden is a forty-five-year-old mature maple. White Japanese anemones bloom in early fall against a backdrop of bamboo. Four species of bamboo frame the perimeter of the garden. In addition to traditional Asian plantings of camellias and azaleas, miniature conifers have been added.

Another recent acquisition to the garden completes the traditional Asian “Three Friends of Winter” plants. These “Friends of Winter” flourish even in the coldest months, with the plum tree blooming so early in spring it often blooms in the snow. The other two “friends” are bamboo and pine, both evergreens. The garden is not only a place of beauty and reflection, but also a place to learn for small Fairytale Town guests. A variety of arts, crafts and gardening projects take place in the garden year round.