The Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden

The Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden

The Journey Begins

Tranquility, simplicity and beauty are the very essence of a Japanese garden. Fred & Lena Meijer had long appreciated the traditions and experiences of Japanese gardens, so in 2009 they asked about adding one to Meijer Gardens. On June 13, 2015 the Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden opened its magnificent Main Gate to visitors, welcoming a world of timeless tranquility.

Kangei: Welcome. The journey begins…


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As a centuries-old, yet timeless horticultural presentation style, the Japanese garden complements Meijer Garden's mission and values, and allows exploration in unique ways to bring the art of the garden and the art of sculpture together. Adding such an international garden has been part of the master planning process for more than a decade and an ideal location was selected that includes water, elevation changes and quiet surroundings.

Highly unique to the Japanese garden, landmark works of contemporary sculpture by international masters will be included, offering thoughtful and thought-provoking aesthetics in keeping with the essence of the Japanese garden tradition and philosophy.

The Japanese garden begins with an artful design by Hoichi Kurisu and the firm Kurisu International. His work ranks among the finest Japanese gardens outside of Japan, including Portland Japanese Garden (Oregon), Anderson Gardens (Rockford, IL), Morikami Museum and Japanese Garden (Delray Beach, Florida).

Kurisu International, founded in 1972, is a landscape design/build firm whose unique gardens create “inner space” for inspiration and healing. Their approach is a whole-system design, a methodology deeply rooted in the specificity of place, people and purpose, and uniquely suited to draw out nature’s ability to meet humanity’s need for inspiration, restoration and healing.


New works of sculpture, by contemporary masters such as Anish Kapoor, Zhang Huan, David Nash, Masayuki Koorida, Jenny Holzer and Giuseppe Penone have been permanently installed within the Japanese garden. This unique marriage of beautiful art in beautiful green spaces has long been a key element of the Meijer Gardens mission. See Highlights above for photos and more information about the sculpture collection within the Japanese garden. 


A Japanese garden is a garden style steeped in centuries of tradition.  The three essential elements in a Japanese garden are rocks, water and plants.  It is the plants that provide seasonal changes and color in the garden.

Plants in a Japanese garden do not need to be native to Japan. While the Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden includes plants that are native to Japan, it also features plants native to Michigan and other temperate climates throughout the world. All of the plants have been sourced from nurseries in the United States. What matters most is how the plants are planted, how they are pruned and the way they are nurtured.

See Highlights above for photos and more information about some of the horticulture that is featured in the Japanese garden.


Fred and Lena Meijer made a significant gift to begin the design process. They also believed that this garden deserved to have the name of another Grand Rapids family who could provide essential leadership in making our region among the best cultural communities in America. In support of Fred and Lena's vision and leadership, Richard and Helen DeVos have made a substantial leadership gift to the project that bears their names: The Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.

Our Japanese garden, a centuries-old tradition, won't be truly mature for several hundred years. Help support the maintenance of the Japanese garden for generations to come. Sponsorship opportunities are still available. Contact the Philanthropy Department at (616) 975-3177 or for additional information or Donate Online Now.

View a full list of sponsors here.


May 17, 2020 1:00 pm

Inside the Japanese Teahouse Japanese Garden Content

Experience the tranquil ambience and exquisite architecture of our authentic Japanese Teahouse.

Japanese Garden Content Incorporates Japanese Garden Content