Created: October 1, 1986
Designer: Kinsaku Nakane
Builder:
Days & Hours: Daily, 9:00am - 4:45pm; Sunday: 12:00pm - 4:45pm
Entry or Parking Fees: $8.00 - Adults; $6.00 - Seniors (60+), Military, and students with IDs; Free - Children (16 and under)
Phone: +1 404-865-7100

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Garden Description:

From U.S. Japanese Gardens:

Located about two miles from downtown Atlanta are The Carter Center: Advancing Human Rights and Alleviating Suffering and the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum, two separate entities on Freedom Parkway. At the heart of these buildings is a large garden, part of which is a Japanese garden designed by Kinsaku Nakane and donated by the YKK Corporation.

Garden Features:

The garden contains many species of azalea, rhododendron, Japanese maple. river birch, camellia, golden raintree and barberry. The garden is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, although access through the library building must wait until opening hours.

In the photos above, the pond vantage point is at the farthest edge of the large, lower pond looking back toward Kinsaku Nakane’s waterfalls. The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum building is visible at the upper right.  The larger waterfall visible behind the lantern is dedicated to former President Jimmy Carter and the smaller to his wife Rosalyn, according to a garden brochure.

History:

This excerpt from https://www.peacinstitute.org/our_town.    demonstrates President Carter’s interest in international affairs, especially Japan, and tells the story of how Carter Center got its Temple Bell:

During World War II, a large temple bell from Konu’s Shoganji Temple was confiscated by the Japanese navy as a source of metal to make ammunition. However, before the bell could be turned into bullets, the war ended. An Englishman found it sitting on the dock in Kure (near Hiroshima) and took it home with him. There, it was found by a member of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce from Atlanta, Georgia. He purchased the bell and brought it to Atlanta to donate to the Carter Center, as a gift from the Chamber of Commerce.

President Carter was grateful for the gift. However, as a devout Christian, he understood the bell to be a spoil of war, which he could not accept according to the teachings of the Bible. He had his staff investigate the bell and they discovered that it had been taken from Shoganji Temple. In 1990, Carter and his daughter Amy visited Konu to return the bell.

This visit by a former US president to a tiny rural community in Japan changed our town drastically. The people of Konu made a replica of the bell and gave the original back to the Carter Center in Atlanta. Then, to commemorate Carter’s remarkable act of generosity, they built a Jimmy Carter Civic Center, which serves as a rather spectacular community center for Konu and includes a gallery called the Peace Learning Center that tells the story of Carter’s life, his presidency, and the work of the Carter Center in Atlanta.

The Carter Center & Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum

441 John Lewis Freedom Parkway Northeast, Atlanta, GA 30307, USA

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