Seattle’s Japanese Garden provides visitors with a serene and relaxing experience. With about 3 ½ acres of beautiful flowers, plants and lanterns along the paths, enjoy your stroll among nature. It may also be one of the hidden gems in the area.
Opened in 1960, the garden makes effective use of Japanese garden traditions, including water, lanterns and the types of flowers. Each garden element provides a meaning. Water represents renewal, while bridges are considered sacred sites, where people take in a view of the area. Stones then anchor the area, providing a relaxing presence.
Flowers and plants represent happiness and pain. Lanterns, originally used to light the pathway, also serve as a guide to improving knowledge. It’s impressive to understand the cultural significance of each item in the garden. It makes me realize that there’s more to what we see than just beauty.
As I walked through the Japanese Garden, I appreciated the scenery – well-manicured trees, grass, colorful flowers. The animals that abounded were impressive, with fish and turtles in the water. I became fixated with a grey squirrel (the little furry-tailed critters are a family favorite). Seattle’s Japanese Garden is a perfect photography spot (the garden has photo restrictions, for the enjoyment of visitors).
Combine UW arboretum with garden walk
Located near the University of Washington Arboretum, a visit to the two natural attractions offers visitors a half-day of outdoor enjoyment. Like its arboretum neighbor, the Seattle Japanese Garden is an easy area to walk, with the pathway following the pond central to the garden’s design.
When he designed the garden, Juki Iida ensured he followed the rules of nature, placing waterfalls, trees and plants specifically where they met the concept of shinzensa, “essence of nature.” He combined Pacific Northwest native plants with traditional Japanese greenery to create a unique garden. The garden has grown over nearly 60 years and annually attracts about 100,000 visitors from around the world.
While it’s currently closed for renovation, the Seattle Japanese Garden will reopen in early April. I highly recommend visiting the garden, which is a bargain with an $8 admission for adults (18-64). For additional information on hours and other admission fees, please visit the website.