Seattle Japanese Garden


I visited the Seattle Japanese Garden at the Washington Park Arboretum during a visit with my relatives in July 2007. My cousin and I went in the afternoon. This collection includes photos from our walk around the garden along the self-guided tour. The information included with the photos in this collection comes from the self-guided tour brochure provided by the Seattle Parks and Recreation at the garden. If you're interested in learning more, I found these two articles about the garden: Legacy of the Japanese Garden of Seattle: Past, Present and Future by Koichi Kobayashi, Affiliate Professor, University of Washington; Kobayashi & Associates, Inc. Kobayashi directed the renovation of the garden completed in 2002. Sanctuaries Of Peace And Serenity By Madeline Drexler New York Times September 29, 2002 --------- Seattle Japanese Garden at the Washington Park Arboretum 1075 Lake Washington Boulevard East North of East Madison Street 206.684.4725 Learn more about the garden online >>

Slides in this album 

Beginning of the garden

The plans for a Japanese style garden were set in motion in 1959 by a sizable gift from an anonymous Arboretum Foundation member.

As you walk into the garden from the entrance, you walk along the path lined with various trees and greenery and see this small stone lantern before …

Seattle Japanese Garden - snow lantern
Contributed by: vkm

Walking towards the lake

The Foundation chose Juki Iida to design the garden, a designer and builder of more than 1,000 Japanese gardens worldwide. Working with six other well-known designers, including K. Inoshita, Iida produced 34 pages of blueprints outlining his plans for the 3-1/2 acre garden.

As you walk along the footpath, this …

Seattle Japanese Garden
Contributed by: vkm

Small stone lantern on the lake

In March 1960, Iida came from Japan to supervise construction of the garden, personally selecting more than 500 huge granite boulders from the Cascade Mountains and wrapped them in bamboo matting to avoid scratches during transport.

This is one of several stone lanterns on the grounds of the Japanese Garden. …

Seattle Japanese Garden - small stone lantern
Contributed by: vkm


The lake is in the center of the garden with the path winding around it. There are two bridges that span across it. The earthen bridge (Dobashi) and plank bridge (Yatsuhashi) are traditional elements in Japanese gardens.

When I stood at the bridge, this koi swam towards me and circled …

Koi at the Seattle Japanese Garden
Contributed by: vkm

More koi

That first koi was soon joined by many others. In addition to the koi, there were also some turtles and little ducklings who swam around hoping I'd feed them. It was a little alarming how many came so quickly!

Group of koi at the Seattle Japanese Garden
Contributed by: vkm

Turtle Island

Turtle Island is a very small patch in the middle of the lake where the turtles can sit out and sun themselves. Apparently, the pines on the island symbolize Japanese cranes (tsuru).

Turtle Island at the Seattle Japanese Garden
Contributed by: vkm

Original gate

This is the original gate to the garden. It's no longer used (if you look closely, you can see in the photo that it was locked). It's near the middle of the lake across from the bridges.

Seattle Japanese Garden - Original Gate
Contributed by: vkm

Wisteria trellis

This is the wisteria trellis that is at the far corner of the lake in the garden.

The garden's brochure describes it as:

"To the north, a beautiful wisteria trellis, usually in its glory in mid-May, covers the outlet from the lake and serves as an entrance to the village."

Wisteria trellis at the Seattle Japanese Garden
Contributed by: vkm

Geometric lantern

This is another one of the many stone lanterns in the garden. This one is located on the corner of a platform area on the far side of the garden next to the lake. It's in the area that represents the village, the more formalized area of the garden.

Seattle Japanese Garden - stone circle lantern close up
Contributed by: vkm

Kobe lantern

I think this was the largest of the stone lanterns in the garden. It was given as a friendship gift in 1958 from Seattle's sister city, Kobe. It's located at the back of the garden on a little hill that overlooks the garden.

Here is the text regarding it from …

Kobe lantern at the Seattle Japanese Garden
Contributed by: vkm

View of the lake

Iida placed the rocks he selected, ranging in weight from 1,000 pounds to more than 11 tons, in their designated locations.

He arranged thousands of plants selected to represent diverse scenes found in Japan. They included azaleas, rhododendrons and camellias, other evergreens, flowering fruit trees, mosses, and ferns.

I …

Seattle Japanese Garden - Kobe lantern view
Contributed by: vkm


Continuing along the footpath around the lake, the next major area is this covered resting area that has a lovely view of the lake as well as a small orchard of sakura (cherry blossom) trees.

It must be very nice to sit up there in the spring looking down at …

Seattle Japanese Garden - Azumaya
Contributed by: vkm

Azumaya roof

This is the underside of the Azumaya roof. I really loved the detail in the construction.

Seattle Japanese Garden - Azumaya roof
Contributed by: vkm

Azumaya bench

The long wooden benches that ran along three sides of the Azumaya's base offered a simple, yet elegant place to sit and relax in the shade.

Seattle Japanese Garden - Azumaya bench
Contributed by: vkm

Moon-viewing stand

This wooden platform sits over the lake on the opposite side as the original entrance gate. The brochure describes it as:

"The Moon-viewing Stand is used in late summer for ceremonies that celebrate the rising of the moon and other performances during Japanese festivals celebrated in the garden. It is …

Moon-viewing Stand at the Seattle Japanese Garden
Contributed by: vkm

Crown Princess Michiko's birch tree

This is a European white birch tree. You can see the moon-viewing stand and the lake beyond it.

What is significant about this particular tree is that it was planted by Crown Princess Michiko of Japan on October 5, 1960 according to the plaque placed in front of it.

Seattle Japanese Garden - Crown Princess Michiko birch tree
Contributed by: vkm

Shoseian Teahouse

The original teahouse, a gift from the people of Tokyo, was hand-constructed in Japan by the Shimizu Company and reassembled on site. Unfortunately, fire destroyed it in 1973. It was rebuilt in 1981 with the help of the Arboretum Foundation and the Urasenke Foundation of Kyoto, Japan.

In a March …

Shoseian teahouse at the Seattle Japanese Garden
Contributed by: vkm

Small rectangular stone lantern

Another small stone lantern. This one was almost hidden among the foliage and lightly covered with moss.

I liked that even though there were a lot of stone lanterns throughout the garden, they were each a little different, with their own character.

Square stone lantern at the Seattle Japanese Garden
Contributed by: vkm


This is the garden's 11-tiered stone pagoda. It also is lightly covered with moss and is symbolic of ancient seminaries in the mountains of Japan.

Stone pagoda at the Seattle Japanese Garden
Contributed by: vkm


This waterfall is near the pagoda. It's hidden near the edge of the garden. It's in a very cool and shaded area with a lot of green foliage.

Waterfall at the Seattle Japanese Garden
Contributed by: vkm

Last lantern

This is the last lantern on the self-guided tour along the footpath.

There were many stone lanterns throughout (I didn't even include photos for all of them here!). There were also other garden elements that I didn't include.

To have included everything I photographed would mean doubling (or tripling) this …

Stone lantern at the Seattle Japanese Garden
Contributed by: vkm

End of the tour

This is back at the entrance/exit to the garden. This is the gate that is now used to access the garden. On just the other side of this gate there is a little entrance stand where you pay to get in and can purchase a few gift items.

This is …

Seattle Japanese Garden - front gate
Contributed by: vkm

Album Type

online exhibition

vkm — 更新日 4月 12 2022 11:07 p.m.

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