The Japanese Garden in Hasselt is the largest of its kind in Europe, the place par excellence to fully experience Japanese culture. Originally a Japanese garden encouraged meditation and reflection and that is no different in Hasselt. Those looking for peace and quiet can find a bench here to listen to the waterfalls, view the koi fish and feed them, have a picnic or walk around quietly and enjoy the changing view. Sometimes you can also hear the peace bell ring. Since 2016, the peace bell has a permanent place in the garden. In addition, every month there are also numerous activities that are open to the public.
The Japanese Garden
The well-known Japanese Garden in Hasselt, a place that has been created, so that you don’t have to travel for hours to feel like you’re in Japan. A place where no plant, tree, stone, path is meaningless, and everything has been thoughtfully planted. A place where the Japanese landscape is completely imitated, with plants, hills, water, rocks, moss, cherry trees, and a cobblestone beach. And with its 25,000 m2 also the largest Japanese garden in all of Western Europe.
The ponds are anything but laid out randomly: they tell a story of life. The starting point with a waterfall that represents the young, vibrant life, childhood. To then move on to the flow of puberty, in which we no longer accept authority from our parents: water that collides with the rocks. This water flows into a waiting basin, which symbolizes the age of 20 to 30 years, in which it is especially a lot quieter, until a bridge comes, after which a representation of the midlife crisis is represented: a rock, the ‘turtle’, which is against the stream tries to go back to the youth, but is also dragged through the water, to end up in the large, quiet pond, a symbol of peace and wisdom.
But although this pond seems very quiet, there is still movement. The dragon gate waterfall, in turn, refers to an ancient Chinese legend: a willing koi wants to exchange his earthly existence for a more exalted life in the afterlife and he jumps over the waterfall to live on as a dragon. A symbol of willpower, strength and perseverance, also represented by a rock in the waterfall. Thus it becomes clear that in a Japanese garden religion and philosophy are central, together with respect for the nature and beauty of the living environment.
This garden is from March 3 t.e.m. October 31 daily to visit, except on Monday. Certainly do !