kariya parkCalculated Traveller Kim recently wrote about finding adventure in your own neighbourhood when you can’t go travelling. Today I thought I’d share this little find in my neighbourhood of Mississauga – about a 30 minute drive from Toronto.

I’ve never been to Japan. I came close once and spent 1.5 hours in Tokyo airport on a layover but all that I saw were the gift shops in the terminal. It’s always been my dream to go to Japan and perhaps see a geisha, some kabuki and eat some REAL Japanese food.

Whenever I feel like “visiting” Japan on the cheap I head over to this little park in my city called Kariya Park.

Kariya Park named for Kariya City, Japan

Kariya park is named in honour of Missisauga’s twin city relationship with the City of Kariya in Japan and was officially opened in 1992 – it’s like a little peace and quiet in amongst the condo towers and hustle of the city.

Truthfully, I never knew this little oasis of peace existed until a couple of years ago when I heard a friend talking about it. (shame on me I know)

Hubby and I often go for a nice stroll through the gardens and watch the ducks, koi fish and turtles in the pond. There is this nice pavilion area with a bronze bell as well as a seating area and zen sand garden. My favourite time of year to visit Kariya Park is in May when all the cherry blossom trees are in bloom and the mama ducks are out with their new-born chicks…

To complete the journey to Japan, after our stroll we go out for sushi and pretend we are the little boy and girl depicted in the statue. (wink)

Here are a few of the photos from our last visit.

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It just goes to show you that with a little imagination you can travel somewhere in mind and spirit and use very little cash.

Get out there and explore your neighbourhood!

Have you found any hidden gems in your backyard. Join the discussion and share your little oasis in your city with others…