The Seattle Japanese Garden in the Washington Park Arboretum is a picturesque sight to behold. The garden is a formal garden stretching across 3.5 acres of an urban sanctuary. The garden opened its doors to the public in the 1960’s and has been a future hub for those who are in search of a serene experience. The Seattle Japanese Garden has seen a vast number of visitors pass through its pathway with a total reaching 85,000 annually. Garden lovers have come from all over the world just to get an eyewitness account of the exquisiteness that has been viewed as a notable Japanese style – garden of importance. The style developed from the 16th and 17th century is an important art form of the Japanese.

The present options take you through a stroll in the garden that can lead to various and winding paths. The Seattle Japanese Garden is a collaborated agreement between The Arboretum Foundation and Seattle Park. The landscapes that are on offer vary, with waterfalls, mountains, islands, lakes, rivers and forests being there for tourists to witness. More is revealed for those who wish to see it all. Juki Iida developed a ‘shi zen’ principle that has stood the test of time even after his death.

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1.Juki Iida

Juki Iida
© Courtesy of Nilanjan -

Juki Iida is a prominent name amongst those who knew of his active presence in the development of The Seattle Japanese Garden. Juki was a landscape developer who wanted to combine his Japanese traditional plant materials with his frequent travels to the Cascades. He would often take off in search of new additions to his garden, like granite rocks that could be placed near the waterfalls. Juki’s choices remain ever – present to this day, with shapes, fragrances and colors being seen throughout the seasons. The inspiration behind his landscape design came from a scroll that he developed whilst staying in Seattle during 1959 – 1960. The depictions on the scroll detail all his inspirations for the garden that is displayed in the library at the Elisabeth C.Miller Horticulture Library. Iida was elected as the project lead designer by The Tokyo Park Department. Juki’s architecture was internationally known so their choice remained a positive one. Iida has created over 1000 gardens; 1889 – 1977 and was even honored by the Emperor of Japan. Many of Iida’s residential gardens created have not stood the test of time (due to developmental pressures.) The Seattle Japanese Garden is the largest – and only one to survive.

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2.Plan your Visit

Plan your Visit
© Courtesy of Zack Frank -


‘The Introduction to Ikebana’ is an event that takes place in 3-parts. It is a chance for students to familiarize themselves with the Ikebana and is a Sogetsu curriculum. It teaches the young students about space, balance and color. Ikebana is the Japanese art of flower arrangement and formal rules that are strictly followed. The students would be put through the training of flower arrangements and the idea to manipulate the materials that they use. The ‘First Viewing’ takes place as a welcoming to the visiting public. There is a blessing ceremony called Shinto. The Shinto is a present day connection to its ancient past. The rituals that take place are of great importance to the Japanese ethnic religion. The Shinto is a factual module to the national festivals, and this is what the Seattle Garden brings a blessing using the Ki-Life-Energy. There is also the Takeuchi community room that allows the public to enjoy some popular Japanese teas and see the ICHI -Go ICHI-E; digital portraits/paintings whilst enjoying their tea.

Tours & Japanese Tea

The tours range from complimentary, to school groups and private. The private tours are limited, and come at a first – come – first – serve basis. The tour last for 45minutes. The complimentary tour is also a way to be guided through the lush gardens and its history. The same time is taken, and 45 minutes is the annual time frame. The school group offers a special rate and allows school children the opportunity to learn about the culture and garden. The tours are a popular way to inform/ describe a more intimate and detailed account of what the visitors are witnessing. Tea is traditional and very popular with the Japanese. The ‘Tea Ceremony’ has been a practiced art for centuries, and teaches the Wabi-Sabi way of humility and tranquility. It takes place in the Shoseian Teahouse, surrounded by a Roji Setting.

Back to: Things to Do in Seattle, WA

075 Lake Washington Blvd E, Seattle, Washington 98112, Phone: 206-684-4725

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Things to Do in Seattle, WA: Seattle Japanese Garden

  • Juki Iida, Photo: Courtesy of Nilanjan -
  • Plan your Visit, Photo: Courtesy of Zack Frank -
  • Cover Photo: Courtesy of aiisha -