‘This garden takes us to another level’: $6.6 million Kay’s Japanese Garden now open at Topeka Zoo

Local News

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – It was always a dream of former Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Kay McFarland to have a Japanese garden in Topeka.

After Thursday’s opening ceremony at the Topeka Zoo, that’s now how her legacy lives on in the capital city.

“Chief McFarland was truly a pioneer. She trail blazed for so many people and that story is told in this garden,” Brendan Wiley, Director of The Topeka Zoo, said.

The $6.6 million Japanese garden is an oasis for peace and tranquility, which is one of a kind in the United States according to the Consulate-General of Japan in Chicago, Consul General Okada.

“In such a huge country like the United States, we only have a handful of Japanese gardens like this,” Consul General Okada said.

The paths around Kay’s Garden tell the story of love and family and captures the spirit of Japanese culture which includes hope, change, and longevity.

“Every time you walk through that garden, every step that you take, you will see something new. And every time that you come, something else will be in bloom,” Pat Colley, Board President for The Friends of the Topeka Zoo said.

Walking around, you will find trails lined with waterfalls, flowers, and Koi ponds to help your stresses drift away and take a moment to slow down.

Which is what the garden’s Designer Koji Morimoto said was the inspiration.

“Where a husband and wife can experience nature together and where grandparents can watch their grandchildren jump in joy, exploring this new sight,” Morimoto said.

Japanese Gardens like Kay’s are meant to last for hundreds of years and continuously evolve with time.

For a full picture gallery of Kay’s Garden, click here.

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