Vancouver’s Nitobe Memorial Garden at UBC is considered one of the top five Japanese gardens outside Japan, so a must see for anyone that likes gardens.
GARDEN STATUS AND COVID-19
Due to the coronavirus, the Nitobe Memorial Garden suspended operations in the spring of 2020. It reopened in the summer, although to visit the place you had to make advanced reservations. The gardens closed again in the fall, this time, apparently, for renovations. It reopened, however, on March 3rd of 2021.
For information about the current status of the venue see the UBC Botanical Garden website.
To see more attractions that are temporarily closed click Vancouver Attractions Closed Due To COVID-19.
Nitobe Japanese Garden
Nitobe Garden is a small Japanese-style garden with a couple of ponds, bridges, outdoor Oriental art, walking paths, trees and other plants. It’s run by the UBC Botanical Garden but located in a different area on campus, not far from the Museum of Anthropology.
Best Times to Visit Nitobe Garden
Anytime is a good time to see the Nitobe Memorial Garden, assuming you like gardens. The place is at its finest though in the late spring, summer and late fall.
For different reasons, the best times to visit are from November to early March (when the park isn’t at its finest but entry is by donation, so extra cheap), in the spring (to see the cherry blossoms), in the summer (when it’s beautiful and in the shade), and in the fall (when the autumn leaves are at their best).
Summer is also an especially good time to visit. The venue has an authentic Tea Garden and Tea House, with traditional Japanese tea ceremonies. They take place once an hour from noon until 4 pm on the last Saturday of the month from May until September (or at least that’s the case in recent years when there hasn’t been a pandemic).
The cost for the tea ceremonies in years when they have taken place has been about $10 in addition to the regular garden admission fees.
The garden can be busy on Tea Ceremony days, but it’s a great and truly Japanese experience that’s highly recommended. There are no guarantees that you’ll like the taste of the tea though as it can be an acquired taste.
Nitobe Memorial Garden is usually open from around November 1st until early to mid-March by donation on weekdays from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm, and daily and with an admission charge for the rest of the year from 10:00 am until 4:30 pm.
(Note: The garden closed for renovations from the fall of 2020 until the spring of 2021. Whether admission will be by donation during the winter season in future years is to be determined.)
The regular cost for the garden was about $7 for adults the last time we checked, but free year-round for UBC students. Information on rates including combined entrance with other UBC garden facilities can be found at the UBC Botanical Garden‘s website.
Click Nitobe Memorial Garden for a map of the garden.
Suggestions and Extra Information
Below are some tips to help you make the most out of your UBC and other garden visits.
TIP #1: There is free parking along Marine Drive, but, because it’s free, spaces are hard to find. The cheapest paid parking at the University of British Columbia is at the UBC Botanical Garden (but you have to be visiting those gardens in order to park there). If you plan to visit both gardens and don’t mind walking between the two venues, park in the lot by the main garden.
TIP #2: If you like the Nitobe Memorial Japanese Garden, other places you might like include Stanley Park, VanDusen Botanical Gardens and Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden, the first of which is free and the last of which is the most similar.
To learn more see the section about the Nitobe Japanese Garden on the UBC Botanical Garden‘s website.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- University of British Columbia
- Vancouver Parks and Nature
- Metro Vancouver’s Top 100 Places
- The A to Z’s of Vancouver