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11 Best Japanese Gardens in the US

by Sugimoto Tea Company
Japanese Culture, Travel Guides

You don’t have to travel far to spend a nice afternoon relaxing in a stunning Japanese garden (or even join a Japanese tea ceremony in some!) because you can find some of the best Japanese gardens in the world in the US. Here are 10 local Japanese gardens you can’t miss.

11 Best Japanese Gardens in the US by Region

West

1. Seattle Japanese Garden, Washington

Location1075 Lake Washington Blvd E, Seattle, Washington 98112
HoursClosed until February 2020 for winter maintenance. Will re-open on March 1, 2020
Admission
  • First Thursdays of the month: Free for all visitors starting 1:00 PM.
  • Adults (18-64): $8
  • City of Seattle residents with ID: $6
  • Youths (6–17), Senior Adults (65+), College students with ID, and Persons with Disabilities: $4
  • Children (0-5): Free
ToursPublic, private, and school tours welcome. Public tours are free, while rates for private tours and school tours vary depending on group size.
Holds Japanese Tea Ceremonies?Yes. Tickets are at $7 for kids and $10 for adults. Please check the website for the 2020 schedule.

Starting off this list is one of the best Japanese gardens near us in Washington state. The 3.5-acre Seattle Japanese Garden has been welcoming visitors since 1960.

Designed by renowned landscape designer Juki Iida, the garden features traditional Japanese plants alongside Pacific Northwest native plants that have grown over time.

Lucky visitors can also experience a traditional Japanese tea ceremony demonstration at the garden’s Shoseian Tea House several times during the year. These events are hosted by local tea groups.

2. The Japanese Tea Garden, California

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Location75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118
HoursOpen everyday (Winter: 9:00 AM-4:45 PM, Summer: 9:00 AM - 5:45 PM)
Admission

San Francisco Residents

  • Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays (9:00-10:00 AM only): Free
  • Adults (18-64): $7.00
  • Youths (12–17), Senior Adults (65+): $4.00
  • Child (5-11): $3.00
  • Under 5’s: Free
Non-residents
  • Adults (18-64, Oct. to Feb.): $10
  • Adults (18-64, Mar. to Sept.): $12
  • Youths (12–17), Senior Adults (65+): $7.00
  • Child (5-11): $3.00
  • Under 5’s: Free
Holds Japanese Tea Ceremonies?No, but the Tea House offers different Japanese teas and snacks you can enjoy throughout the day. If you’re interested in purchasing Japanese teaware, you can also check out the Gift Shop above the Tea House.

The Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco holds the honor of being the “oldest public Japanese garden in the United States.” It was first intended as a “Japanese Village” exhibit when it first opened in 1894, but it was later painstakingly created into a Japanese garden by a man called Makoto Hagiwara.

The garden features classic architectural Japanese elements, like pagodas, stone lanterns, and an arched drum bridge. During March and April, you’ll find cherry blossom trees littered around the garden.

While there are no tea ceremonies here, you can still grab some Japanese tea and snacks at Tea House, located in the middle of the garden. Here, you’ll find a particularly unusual snack that isn’t often associated with Japanese tea — fortune cookies. That’s because Mr. Hagiwara brought fortune cookies to the US, and his legacy is still being honored in the Garden.

3. Portland Japanese Garden, Oregon

Location

611 SW Kingston Avenue, Portland, OR 97205

Hours

Winter Public Garden Hours (October 1 – March 8)

  • Monday: Noon-4:00 PM
  • Tuesday-Sunday: 10:00 AM-4:00 PM
  • Last General Admission is at 3:30 PM

Summer Public Garden Hours (March 9 – September 30)

  • Monday: Noon-7:00 PM
  • Tuesday-Sunday: 10:00 AM-7:00 PM
  • Last General Admission is at 6:30 PM

Admission


  • Adults (18-64): $16.95
  • Seniors (65+): $14.50
  • Student (with ID): $13.50
  • Youths (6-17): $11.50
  • Children (0-5): Free
  • Members: Free

Tours

Public tours are run by volunteers and are typically available on specific times and dates. For the most updated information, you can call 503-542-9306 on the day of your visit.

Holds Japanese Tea Ceremonies?

Yes, in partnership with local tea societies, Portland Japanese Garden hosts free tea ceremonies. You can check out the schedule here.

Portland Japanese Garden offers one of the most varied activities and experiences of any Japanese garden on this list. Aside from enjoying the natural wonders of the garden itself, you can also find a deeper appreciation for Japanese culture through the attractions designed to honor them.

See some of the exhibitions featuring some of the finest in Japanese art and design in the Pavilion Gallery. You can also watch chado (“Way of Tea”) demonstrations in the Cathy Rudd Cultural Center.

If you get hungry during your day in the garden, you can refuel at Umami Cafe. From Tea Sets, which consist of a serving of Japanese green tea and dessert pairing, to Yakitori Chicken Fried Rice, you’ll probably find something to suit your taste buds at any time of the day.

4. Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix Arizona, Arizona

Location

1125 N. 3rd Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85003

Hours

Open October through May (Tuesday-Sunday, 10:00 AM-4:00 PM)., First Friday Extended Hours (Open until 8:00 PM)


Admission

  • General: $10
  • Seniors (62+): $8
  • Students/Military: $7
  • Children 6 and under: Free
  • First Friday: Free from 5:00 PM-8:00 PM

Tours

Walk-in garden tours are available on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM. They can be availed on top of your entrance ticket for $3.00. Private tours and school group tours are also available.

Holds Japanese Tea Ceremonies?

Yes, on one Saturday each month from October through July. Please refer to this page for the complete schedule for Spring 2020.

Tickets are at $30 for seniors and Garden members and $35 for non-members. Admission to the tea ceremony is only 12 years old and up.

Arizona may often be associated with deserts, but did you know there’s actually a Japanese garden right in its capital Phoenix?

As the name implies, the Japanese Garden of Phoenix Arizona, which is also known as “Ro Ho En” is a joint project between the City of Phoenix and its Japanese sister city of Himeji to commemorate the friendship between the two cities.

Throughout the year, the Garden celebrates various Japanese holidays like the Children’s Day in April and Otsukimi Full Moonviewing Festival in October. You can also sign up for classes and workshops like Ikebana flower arranging and Japanese culture classes.

South

5. The Morikami Museum, Florida

Location

4000 Morikami Park Road, Delray Beach, FL 33446

Hours

Museum & Gardens

Tues – Sun: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Cornell Café

Tues – Sun: 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Closed Mondays and major holidays

Admission

  • Morikami Members: Free
  • Adults (ages 18+): $15
  • Seniors (65+): $13
  • Military (with ID): $13
  • College Students (with ID): $11
  • Children (ages 6-17): $9
  • Children 5 and under: Free

Please note that no discounts are offered on festival days

For groups with at least 15 people:

  • Adult Group (per person): $13.08 plus tax
  • Children’s Group (per person): $7.48 plus tax

Tours

Free mobile guide: You can launch a free mobile tour right from your smartphone so you can explore the Garden at your own pace.

Group tours personalized based on the age group of the guests can also be provided for a fee.

Holds Japanese Tea Ceremonies?

Yes, one-day tea ceremony workshops are held throughout the year at the Seishin-an Tea House within the Garden. The workshop fee is $40/class. Please check this page for the 2020 schedule.

Opened in 1977, Morikami Museum and Garden hopes to promote Japanese culture by playing host to several events throughout the year. This includes Japanese festival celebrations and tea ceremonies.

If you’re interested in the tools used in the Japanese tea ceremony, you can check out the Morikami Museum’s 500-piece collection. Here, you’ll also find more than 7000 pieces of Japanese art and artifacts.

Morikami Garden is divided into six gardens, all inspired by a counterpart garden in Japan.

6. Japanese Garden in Fort Worth Botanic Garden, Texas

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Location

3220 Botanic Garden Boulevard, Fort Worth, Texas 76107

Hours

Monday-Sunday, 8:00 AM-5:00 PM

Last admission is at 4:15 PM.

Admission

  • Adult (16-64): $12
  • Senior (65+): $10
  • Child (6-15): $6
  • Child (5 and under): Free
  • GROW Members: Free
  • Parking: Free

Tours

Docent tours available at an extra $1.

Holds Japanese Tea Ceremonies?

Yes, tea ceremonies are conducted by the Fort Worth Japanese Society every month (includes a ticket to the Garden). Tickets are at $30. Please check this page for the 2020 schedule.

The Japanese Garden in Fort Worth Botanic Garden may just be one of the several gardens, but it’s certainly worth a visit. On a typical day here, you’ll find Japanese maple and cherry trees, bamboo, and the ponds, which are home to more than 1000 koi fish.

The Garden hosts several Japanese cultural events throughout the year, including the Spring Festival and tea ceremonies.

Northeast

7. Shofuso, Pennsylvania


Location

Shofuso, Lansdowne and Horticultural Drives, West Fairmount Park

Philadelphia, PA, 19131‎

Hours

March 23 through October:

  • Wednesday through Friday, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
  • Saturday and Sunday, 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM
  • November through December 15
  • Saturday and Sunday 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Admission

  • Adults: $12: Adults
  • Senior Citizens: $8:
  • Children (5-17): $8:
  • Children (under 5’s): Free
  • Students with College ID: $8: Students with College ID
  • ACCESS Cardholders with photo ID: $2
  • Family members of ACCESS Cardholders (up to 4 members): $2 each
  • Members: Free
  • Active duty military ID holder, plus up to five family members: Free

Tours

Pick-up tours are available based on staff availability. For groups of 10 or more, scheduled group tours are also available. For more information, please check this page.

Holds Japanese Tea Ceremonies?

Yes, tea ceremonies are led by members of Chado Urasenke Tankokai Philadelphia Association. Registration is required for all attendees. Please visit this page for more information.

Shofuso (a.k.a. “Pine Breeze Villa”) is actually the name of the 17th century-style Japanese house that sits within the gardens. It was part of an exhibition for the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in 1953 and was built in Nagoya using traditional techniques and materials.

In 1957, Shofuso was brought to Philadelphia to replace a nio-mon (“temple gate”) that burned down in 1955. It’s been named one of the top Japanese gardens in North America by the Journal of Japanese Gardening.

There are monthly tea ceremony demonstrations from April to October. The demonstrations are limited to small groups (typically not more than 25). At the end of the demonstration, attendees will receive a bowl of matcha and a traditional seasonal confection.

8. Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden, Brooklyn Botanical Garden, New York

Location

150 Eastern Parkway, 455 Flatbush Avenue, 990 Washington Avenue

Brooklyn, NY 11225

Hours

  • Tuesday–Sunday: 10 AM-4:30 PM
  • Closed Mondays (but open Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Presidents’ Day)
  • Closed Christmas and New Year’s Day
  • Last admission into the Garden is at 4:00 PM

Admission

  • Adults: $15
  • Seniors (65+): $8
  • Students (12+ with ID): $8
  • Children under 12: Free
  • Winter weekdays (December–February): Free
  • Members: Free

Tours

Guided tours are available by appointment and for a fee. Themed tours are also available throughout the year. For more information, please visit this page.

Holds Japanese Tea Ceremonies?

Yes, you can check BBG’s event calendar for more details.

Within Brooklyn Botanical Garden (BBG) lies the Japanese Pond-and-Hill Garden, a Japanese garden featuring a five-tiered waterfall, winding paths, and a Shinto shrine on top of the hill. Opened in 1915, it’s one of the oldest Japanese gardens in the country.

One of the biggest events in the Garden is Sakura Matsuri, a two-day festival held during the end of spring. These festivities celebrate Japanese culture, with events ranging from Japanese tea ceremony demonstrations to Taiko drumming masterclasses.

Midwest

9. Anderson Japanese Gardens, Illinois

Location

318 Spring Creek Road, Rockford, Illinois 61107

Hours

Anderson Gardens is open from May 1 to October 31, 2020.

  • Monday-Friday: 9:00 AM-6:00 PM
  • Saturday & Sunday: 9:00 AM-5:00 PM

Admission

  • Adult: $11.00
  • Senior (62+): $10.00
  • Student and Military: $9.00

Tours

  • Public tours led by volunteers are available daily at 10:30 AM and 1:15 PM at $2 on top of the admission price.
  • Private guided tours are also available, with prices ranging from $4 to $13.

Holds Japanese Tea Ceremonies?

Yes, a tea demonstration will be held in Anderson Gardens on February 8, 2020. Those who are interested in taking classes can also register with the Anderson Japanese Tea Gardens Tea Group.

The founder of Anderson Gardens, John Anderson, was actually inspired by another Japanese garden on the list — Portland Japanese Garden.

The Garden plays host to several cultural, health and wellness, and educational events throughout the year. It’s also the home of the Anderson Japanese Tea Gardens Tea Group, which offers daily and semestral classes for those who want to learn and practice the art of “Chado.”

10. Japanese Garden at Missouri Botanical Garden, Missouri


Location

4344 Shaw Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63110

Hours

  • Daily: 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
  • Holiday Hours (November 21-January 2, 2021): 9:00 AM-4:00 PM

Admission

  • Adults (13+): $14
  • Children (12 and under): Free
  • Members: Free

St. Louis City/County residents (with proof of residency)

  • Adults (13-64): $6
  • Seniors (65+): $4

Tours

Public and private tours are available. From April to October, there will also be narrated tram tours.

Holds Japanese Tea Ceremonies?

Yes, during the annual Japanese Festival during Labor Day Weekend.

In 1977, Missouri Botanical Garden dedicated 14 acres of its sprawling estate to its very own Japanese Garden. Rather than being flashy, this Garden makes a monochromatic statement, giving visitors the freedom to discover and interpret their surroundings for themselves.

The Garden features four different islands: Crane Island, Tortoise Island (both not accessible to the public), Nakajima (Teahouse Island), and Paradise Island.

Teahouse Island features an authentic Nagano teahouse gifted by Missouri’s sister state in Japan. Guided tours dedicated to Teahouse Island are available on Saturdays through Mondays, with two tour groups each day. Tickets are $5 each.

11. Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden at Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, Michigan

Location

1000 East Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525

Hours

  • Sunday: 11:00 AM-5:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 9:00 AM-9:00 PM
  • Monday, Wednesdays to Fridays: 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
  • Meijer Gardens is open 362 days a year. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

Admission

  • Adults (14 – 64): $14.50
  • Seniors (65 and older): $11
  • Students (with student ID): $11
  • Children (5–13): $7
  • Children (3–4): $4
  • Children (2 and younger): Free
  • Members: Free

Tours

Self-Guided and Volunteer-led tours are available. You can check out the rates here.

Holds Japanese Tea Ceremonies?

Yes, tea ceremony demonstrations are held throughout the year. For more information, you can check the Meijer calendar here.

The newest garden on our list, the Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden in Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Michigan, was built only in 2015. Its highlight is the authentic Japanese teahouse, which was created by skilled craftsmen in Japan, then later reassembled in Michigan.

Another striking feature is the Zen-style Garden, which invites visitors to relax and contemplate. It also features an untitled sculpture by Anish Kapoor, which is one of the few outdoor stone pieces he’s created.

With some of the best Japanese gardens located in the country, you don’t have to travel far to experience the understated beauty and unparalleled relaxation of Japanese gardens. We hope this feature helped you learn more about some of the best Japanese gardens in the US. 

For more articles about Japanese culture, check out our blog

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