If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know how much I absolutely adored our time in Japan last year, and how deeply I miss that beautiful, storied nation. Although my Japanese heritage is small and distant from a great-grandparent, I still have always felt a deep connection to this beautiful nation, and I made it a point to study Japanese language and culture at the University of Michigan as my electives. Since I, like everyone else, was unable to travel back to Japan this year, visiting the Seattle Japanese Garden during our recent time in the Emerald City was soothing to the soul, and invigorating to the senses.
Seattle Japanese Garden
Location: Seattle, Washington
Address: 1075 Lake Washington Boulevard East
Seattle, WA, 98112
Admission: Purchase timed tickets here
Hours: Click here for up to date hours
Parking: Free parking nearby
The Seattle Japanese Garden recently celebrated its 60th anniversary, which is traditionally a big deal in Japanese culture when a person or place turns 60 years old, called “kanreki”, and people generally celebrate the occasion with food and festivities, and their loved ones (or people who enjoy the space if it’s a place), send in positive and encouraging comments to support and show gratitude. I hope this post will serve as a note of gratitude for the Seattle Japanese Garden, where we spent a beautiful morning strolling through the winding paths, admiring Japanese Maple Trees as they began to change colors for the fall, and watching as turtles and koi fish swam in the central pond.
This Japanese garden effortlessly shares the grace, elegance, and sophistication of traditional Japanese gardens in beautiful Seattle, and they even offer tea ceremonies. While these gorgeous ceremonies are currently suspended for safety reasons, I hope to one day return and enjoy something I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing since our time in Kyoto. I believe there’s no better way to learn than through seeing and doing, so if you’re interested in learning a bit about how beautiful Japanese culture and gardens are, the Seattle Japanese Garden is the perfect place to go for an organic lesson.
A 17th century inspired Japanese stroll garden, visitors walk through winding paths, across stone bridges and cobble stone paths, across waterfalls and through mossy lawns to view stone lanterns, arboretums, a stone bridge, along a koi pond, and more through a miniature tour across various Japanese landscapes that change to reflect the seasons, making each visit different from the last.
I find that gardens are best enjoyed at a slow pace. Take the time to sit at the strategically placed benches, and simply be with nature. Enjoy the sounds of the birds, rushing water, and the wind through the trees, and take stock of what’s around you at each stop. I like to try to imagine why the garden designers picked the plants that they did, and why they may have placed them the way they did, in relation to garden elements like fountains, shrubs, benches, bridges, and more, taking into account how the displays might change season to season.
Nothing about gardens such as this is accidental, and they often take several years of planning, research, and creativity to come to fruition, so learning to read and understand the subtle geometry and hidden messages of gardens is an art form that enhances a garden visiting experience immeasurably, and creates precious memories that last a lifetime.
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