Kawachinagano Japanese Garden is a serene oasis in the center of Carmel — a beautiful and tranquil space for the community right behind Carmel City Hall. Located just off the Monon Trail, the garden is a spot where trail users can stop and rest, and also a place where families can enjoy picnics while being surrounded by natural beauty.
The garden includes elements of traditional Japanese gardens, and features such things as a gateway that leads to a garden path, which winds around a pond filled with koi fish and lily pads. Visitors will also see sculptures all around the park, including sculptures of cranes (a symbol of happiness and youth) and lanterns. There are benches that face the pond, where visitors can sit and watch the koi swim and geese gather.
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Multiple cherry blossom trees have been thoughtfully planted in the park. In the spring, visitors are treated to a burst of vibrant color from the pink, delicate flowers that bloom from the trees. Because of this, Kawachinagano Japanese Garden is a popular setting for engagement and family photos.
Getting to the Garden
There are two ways to get to Kawachinagano Japanese Garden: by car or by the Monon Trail. To access the garden from the Monon Trail, look for a small pedestrian bridge with red railings — this will lead you straight to the garden. The red bridge is located just south of Carmel City Hall. If you are coming by vehicle, follow the signs for Carmel City Hall, and you will see a free parking lot for the gardens.
The History of Kawachinagano Japanese Garden
In 1993, Kawachinagano City in Osaka, Japan, sent a research group to Carmel, Indiana, to visit Carmel. In 1994, the signing of the Sister City agreement was held at Lovely Hall in Kawachinagano, Osaka, Japan. Carmel Sister Cities Inc. and the Kawachinagano International Friendship Association drew up an agreement regarding future city activities.
Since then, both Carmel and Kawachinagano have had multiple exchanges, and have sent groups to visit each other’s cities. The two cities have collaborated on activities for many years, taking part in such things as exchange projects between police and fire departments, picture exchanges among students, study abroad opportunities, musical concerts and participation in Carmel’s International Arts Festival.
Plans for Expansion
As of summer 2021, Kawachinagano Japanese Garden is in the process of being expanded. The garden will more than triple in size, and extend south to Carmel Drive. Plans are to expand the pond and green space, and include new features, such as an island, bridge and a boardwalk overlook. Completion of the new garden space is planned for spring 2022.
Kawachinagano Japanese Garden (website) is located at One Civic Square in Carmel.