Top 20 Seattle attractions

Seattle Japanese Garden

​​​The Seattle Japanese Garden is a beautiful oasis near the city.

The garden attracts over 100,000 visitors a year, and is open March through November.

This 3.5 acre garden was completed in 1960, designed by Japanese landscape gardener Juki Iida, originally from the Kanto Region.  

A pathway winds around the exquisite gardens, past cherry blossoms, Japanese maples, rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, and native northwest trees like conifers. 

The Seattle Japanese Garden is located just 10 minutes east of the city, in the Washington Park Arboretum, at 1075 Lake Washington Blvd E.

Allow a minimum of 1-hour to visit this garden. Check hours & admission.

10 best things to do at Seattle Japanese Garden

1. Walk through the Entry Gatehouse where tickets are purchased.

The Entry Gatehouse opened in 2009, and also features a conference room for hire. The bronze gates were designed by Seattle sculptor Gerard Tsutakawa, who also designed the bronze gates at Seattle's Kubota Garden.

2. Enjoy the views from the beautiful Moon viewing platforms.

The moon viewing platforms are illuminated with lanterns during the Moon Viewing ceremony in September.  This is a big event on the calendar celebrated with music and dancing, and intended to give thanks for the upcoming bounty from the harvest.

The custom of Autumn Moon Viewing parties, dates back to the Tang Dynasty in China (618 to 907 AD), and was then adopted by Japanese aristocrats.

3. Find all the traditional stone lanterns in the Seattle Japanese Garden.

Traditional stone lanterns are popular in Japanese Gardens, and were originally used in China as early as 600 BC, then placed by the Japanese at the front of temples and pagodas.  These stone lanterns are illuminated by candles to lead the way to tea ceremonies and Autumn Moon festivals.

4. Visit the Seattle Japanese Garden in late spring or early summer to see pink azaleas put on a dazzling display.

5. Plan a visit in late April when the goregeous cherry blossoms are in full bloom.

6. See the stunning Cleyera Japonica in bloom in late spring and early summer. 

This exquisite evergreen shrub has cream-white, bell-shaped flowers with an intoxicating fragrance.  It's native to Japan and can grow up to an astounding 30-feet in the wild.

7. See 500 granite boulders that are symbolic of mountains and hills.

Can you see the granite boulders strategically positioned throughout the garden?  There are 500 of them at the Seattle Japanese Garden, transported from the Cascade Range east of Seattle.  

A Japanese Garden is considered a microcosm of the natural environment, and the boulders are therefore symbolic of mountains and hills.

8.  Walk across the fun zig zag bridge.

The zig zag bridge is said to ward off evil spirits who can only travel in a straight line.

9. Find the island in the middle of the lake.

Mini islands are very popular in Japanese Gardens, representative of full scale islands in the real world, with mounds evocative of mountainous landscapes.

10. Relax on a bench overlooking the lake at the Seattle Japanese Garden, and enjoy this tranquil atmosphere.  

Know before you go 

  • Open:  March thru November (closed Mondays).
  • Hours & admission: here.
  • Tours:  Guided and self-guided tours.
  • Restrooms:  Yes.
  • Picnic Tables:  Near the garden entrance.
  • Address:  1075 Lake Washington Blvd E, 98112.

Other beautiful Seattle Gardens

If you love beautiful gardens, visit the Kubota Garden or Lakewolds Garden, both south of Seattle.  The Volunteer Park Conservatory is small but lovely, situated in an close-in Seattle neighborhood.

More Gardens in Seattle

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