Good morning. If you’d like to see one of Japan’s natural wonders but can’t make it across the Pacific, try Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE. The botanical gardens include 100 acres of year-round plant displays, including this part of the Japanese Garden.
What you see here is a 377.6-inch tall mound, designed to be a 1/400th scale replica of Japan’s Mt. Fuji. Visitors walk down a path to this torii gate, which typically marks the entrance to a Shinto shrine. You can then climb the steps to view ten volcanic stones, each symbolizing one of the ten stations climbers of the real Mt. Fuji must pass on their way to the summit. The garden first came to be in 2005, following a decade of work with Omaha’s sister city of Shizuoka, Japan. As of June 2021, the Japanese Garden is temporarily closed as Lauritzen undertakes improvements to the guest experience in the area.
Beyond the Japanese Garden, the entire campus is a carefully designed living museum, even down to the parking area. Various portions function as an arboretum, bird sanctuary, children’s garden, herb garden, and rose garden. There’s also a Garden of Memories, specially designed for reflection and marking of life’s biggest moments. And don’t miss the Model Railroad Garden, where model railroads weave through wooden replicas of downtown Omaha’s buildings.
Visiting Lauritzen Gardens
Address: 100 Bancroft St, Omaha, NE 68108
Lauritzen Gardens is easily accessed from I-80 and downtown Omaha when traveling by car. Free on-site parking includes space for up to 550 cars, so you shouldn’t have to worry about finding a spot.
Admission is $10 plus tax for adults, and $5 plus tax for kids 3-12. Babies 2 years old and under can enter free. Tickets for the train tour are an additional $5 per person. Lauritzen Gardens is open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.