Each year during the Japanese Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden, the private Teahouse Island is open for guided public tours. Allowed to cross the narrow cove and dobashi, or earthen bridge, guests can experience Teahouse Island. At the end of the bridge stands a snow-viewing lantern, yukimi-doro, a gift from St. Louis’s sister city of Suwa, Japan. The teahouse itself, a gift from Missouri’s sister state of Nagano, Japan, is sacred in Japanese culture. This soan, or “farm hut” style teahouse, was built in Japan, reassembled here by Japanese craftsmen, and dedicated with a Shinto ceremony in 1977. The teahouse is screened by hedges to create a sense of remoteness.