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Serenity in Urban City, Legacy Garden Opens in the Midwest Buddhist Temple

• The Midwest Buddhist Temple’s Legacy Garden opened to the public on July 19 after the Temple commemorated its 70th anniversary on June 22, and dedicated the garden to Issei and Nisei (first and second generations), who had worked hard for the Japanese American community in the Chicago area.

• The Legacy Garden, which was designed by renowned landscape designer Hoichi Kurisu of Portland, is a mountain themed garden where visitors feel as if they are in a mountain even if the garden is small.
• Located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, the Garden is an oasis in the urban life. While the Garden is created for peace and inspiration for the Buddhist community, it also comforts people from the larger public by offering relief from stress and concerns from daily life.

• Donna Kobayashi, a member of MTB and a guide of the Garden, said that one of the docents, Ellen Dunleavy, shared a lovely story when she had a visitor. When the visitor signed in the guest book, he noticed many names from his neighbors in the area around the temple. He said that the Legacy Garden had brought the neighborhood together and they were meeting each other sharing stories about the construction, and how they appreciated the beautiful garden in their neighborhood.
• Kobayashi said, “This is one of the goals the MBT Garden Committee had hoped for. We wanted to enrich our relationship with the community through the focus of the Legacy Garden and share our heritage of the Japanese American presence and contribution in Chicago.”

• The Garden’s entrance is called “Hamano Gate”, which was given to honor a leading donor, the Hamano family. According to Kobayashi, Mr. Hamano was impressed by the meaning of the construction of the Garden, which was honoring Issei and Nisei, teaching about Japanese culture, and Jodo Shinshu of Buddhism, for which the Hamano family made a significant donation. After six years of construction work, the Legacy Garden was completed last June.

• The garden is handicapped accessible and open to the MBT members and public on the first Memorial Sunday of each month. All other visitors are required to make a reservation. The Garden is newly constructed, and the plantings need about two years to root. Due to these facts, MTB has protected the Garden.

• The Midwest Buddhist Temple and the Legacy Garden is located:
• 435 W. Menomonee St., Chicago
• P: 312.943.7801

• The full story is available in the Chicago Shimpo’s 2014, August 8th issue

Donna Kobayashi guides the visitors in the Legacy Garden.
Legacy Garden in the Midwest Buddhist Temple