A Japanese Garden in a City: Seattle
It is not uncommon to find a Japanese garden in the countryside, but what about in the middle of an American city? Seattle’s Japanese Garden was designed by Kenzo Ogata and opened on September 27th, 1973. The garden consists of three sections; one area for viewing cherry blossoms (a symbol of Japan), another area with traditional tea ceremonies conducted by trained tea masters, and finally, a bonsai display that showcases different types of plants. The garden has been well received since its opening due to its innovative design and serene atmosphere.
This garden is an oasis in the center of a busy city. It reminds us that we can take a break from our busy lives, slow down and relax.
History of the Seattle Japanese Garden
The Seattle Japanese Garden is a beautiful, peaceful oasis in the middle of an urban jungle. Incredibly, such a place exists within easy walking distance from downtown and Capitol Hill. The garden is comprised of over five acres of land consisting of three separate gardens: Kodomo no Yakata (Children’s Garden), Saito-Ji (Western Paradise Garden), and Tsuboniwa (Garden with Submerged Stone). After World War II, Japan donated all the materials to build this remarkable space as a gift for the sister city relationship it had developed with Seattle since 1909. In 1994, on its 60th-anniversary celebration, the garden was rededicated as a “gift from Seattle.”
The Seattle Japanese Garden is a traditional-style stroll garden located in the Washington Park Arboretum. The idea for this garden was first conceived by Seattle garden designer Takeo Uesugi in 1959.
Seattle Japanese Garden now sits on three acres of land and is considered a “gift from Seattle” to Japan’s sister city relationship with it. This award-winning garden was established in 1962 after Japan donated all the construction materials as an anniversary gift for their city partnership in 1909. In 1994, during its 60th-anniversary celebration, this space was rededicated again as a “gift from Seattle.” Several features like six-foot-tall stone lanterns and centuries-old trees make up this gorgeous space found within easy walking distance of downtown and Capitol Hill areas.
List of things to see on Seattle Japanese Garden
- Bamboo grove
- Cherry blossoms (in spring)
- Japanese garden bridge and tea house
- Stone lanterns
- Strolling gravel paths
- Japanese maples
- Paper walls (in summer)
- Azaleas (in spring)
- Japanese iris along the pond in front of the waterfall
- Tokyo Room with a collection of Japanese art, artifacts, and kimonos
- Seattle’s oldest building: Tsukiyama Teahouse
Activities at Seattle Japanese Garden
It offers an impressive array of activities for visitors of any age or interest level to enjoy throughout the day and into the evening hours. The garden hosts many events each month, including public art displays, music concerts in their outdoor theater, film screenings under the stars in the summertime, dinners with friends on weekends (Friday through Sunday), special celebrations like Sakura Matsuri (cherry blossom festival) every springtime, and more. Different committees organize these that they can sign up to be part of if interested in participating further. There are also opportunities available for new volunteers to help with existing committees as well.
Seattle Japanese Garden visitors can take a stroll along the garden’s turf and stone paths, which wind throughout the grounds and lead to all of its unique places of interest. The pond is surrounded by an arched bridge that leads across its tranquil waters; on either side, there are teahouses where one may rest for a spell or sip hot tea during chilly winter months. There is also a traditional “dry landscape” area (meaning that water isn’t used in this section). It features gravel walks lined with maple trees that provide spectacular autumnal colors when their leaves change color in fall. Other significant features include a stone lantern, a traditional teahouse with authentic wood and bamboo construction, and a waterfall lit up at night by colorful lights to add an extra special touch of beauty. The garden also has many different trees throughout the grounds, such as cherry blossom trees for their famous Sakura Matsuri, maples, pines, ginkgos, and more.
In addition to all of its features in the landscape design, five indoor galleries feature artwork from multiple genres, including bonsai art (miniature tree sculptures), paintings on silk scrolls depicting scenes from nature or Buddhist stories/mythology about figures like Kannon (the goddess of mercy), calligraphy displays using Chinese characters written out in beautiful hand-written strokes, and more. Visitors can also enjoy the changing of artwork throughout the year to keep things fresh and exciting so that there is always something new for guests to see from one season’s end to another’s beginning.
Location and Admission
Seattle offers serenity amidst urban chaos—it’s incredible how such a place exists only minutes by car or public transportation!
Location: Seattle Japanese Garden is located at 1075 Lake Washington Blvd E, Seattle, WA 98112, USA. The garden is open from Tuesday to Sunday but closed on Monday.
Admission into Seattle Japanese Garden varies from $4 to $8.
Hours of Operation: Tuesday –Sunday The garden is open from 10 am to 6 pm.
Seattle is a stunning place that anyone who visits should see first hand! It’s so relaxing just to walk around the pond and take in all of its beauty.
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