Seattle Japanese Garden
The Seattle Japanese Garden at Washington Park Arboretum is one of the most celebrated Japanese gardens outside of Japan. It is composed of a formal stroll-through garden at the north end and an informal, naturalistic woodland and mixed forest garden at the south end. These are connected by a semi-formal transitional area in the center featuring a lake, a wooden zigzag bridge, and a stone peninsula.
Classical influences: The plans for the 3.5-acre public garden were created in the late 1950s by Japanese master designers, Kiyoshi Inoshita and Juki Iida. Inoshita and Iida were inspired by classical gardens in their homeland: Possible design influences include the Horai En Garden, Tokyo, built in the Edo Period (1603-1863), as well as the Katsura Imperial Villa, Kyoto, built in the Azuchi-Momoyama Period (1568-1603). Seattle’s garden opened to the public in 1960, and has been one of the city’s major attractions ever since.
Stakeholders: The garden is managed by Seattle Parks and Recreation. The Associated Recreation Council (ARC) enriches the Seattle Japanese Garden by providing recreation and lifelong learning programs, classes, and events for all ages. The Japanese Garden Advisory Council is a group of community members who meet once a month to advocate for the success of programs within the garden while providing a connection between the community, ARC, and Seattle Parks and Recreation.
The Arboretum Foundation has been closely involved with the Seattle Japanese Garden since its inception, helping raise money to fund the initial construction, as well as renovations and capital projects over the years. Most recently, in 2007, the Foundation helped its partners at the garden secure more than $1 million in funds for the construction of the new Japanese Garden Entry Gatehouse. Major gifts included $200,000 from the Tateuchi Foundation, $125,000 from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, and $100,000 each from the Pendleton and Elisabeth Miller Charitable Foundation and the Hugh and Jane Ferguson Foundation. Matching funds of $450,000 from the voter-approved 2000 Pro Parks Levy and generous donations from many individuals also helped bring the project to fruition. The gatehouse was opened to great fanfare in the spring of 2009.
Unit 86: In 1967, Arboretum Foundation volunteer unit 86—the Prentice Bloedel Unit—was founded to provide leadership in sustaining the Japanese Garden. Today, unit members are trained as docents and provide public and private tours of the garden throughout the season. They also help out with garden maintenance, event support, and some retails sales.
Seasonal hours: The Seattle Japanese Garden is open to the public from February to November each year. In peak summer season, the garden is open every day; in early spring and fall, it’s usually closed on Mondays. Opening hours vary throughout the year. Regular admission for adults (ages 18 to 64) is $6.
Special events: The garden hosts a wonderful series of special events through the season, including Children’s Day, the Tanabata Festival, and Moon Viewing.
Donate: You can support the Seattle Japanese Garden with a donation on our website. Just click the “Japanese Garden” button on our gift form while filling out your payment information.
For general information about garden admission rates, season schedules, special events, and facilities, visit the Seattle Japanese Garden website or call 206-684-4725.