Gorgeous Fall Colors Brighten Seattle’s Japanese Garden


This year, the Seattle Japanese Garden’s maple-viewing celebration was in late October. Fall is a time to view, and encounter, the garden’s many maples, stars of the autumn season.

There are many other plants that undergo their beautiful, yet poignant, transformations in this season, too. Like this beautiful persimmon tree with fruit.

Built in 1959, the Seattle Japanese Garden was the earliest postwar public construction of a Japanese-style garden on the Pacific Coast, and so has had a strong influence on the design on Japanese gardens throughout the region.


Located within the Washington Park Arboretum, this is a spectacular 3 1/2 acre formal garden designed and constructed under the supervision of world-renowned Japanese garden designer Juki Iida in 1960.

In March of 1960, Mr. Iida came from Japan to supervise construction of the Garden. He personally selected more than 500 huge granite boulders from the Cascade Mountains near Snoqualmie Pass, wrapping them in bamboo matting to avoid scratches during transport. Iida had the rocks, ranging in weight from 1,000 pounds to more than 11 tons, placed in their designated locations.

He arranged thousands of plants, including azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias and other evergreens, flowering fruit trees, mosses and ferns, selected to represent diverse scenes found in Japan.

Loved this sign for a tree still growing that was planted in 1960 by Crown Princess Michiko of Japan.

The Moon-viewing Platform is used in late summer for ceremonies that celebrate the
rising of the moon and for music and dance performances at other Japanese festivals celebrated in the Garden. It is also a great spot from which to observe the colorful and elegant Japanese carp (koi) in the lake.

Seattle Japanese Garden
1075 Lake Washington Blvd. Seattle, WA 98112.
Parking is free.

Tuesday – Sunday    10 am – 5 pm

Adults 18-64: $6
Youths 6–17, Senior Adults 65+, College students with ID, & Disabled: $4
Children 0-5: FREE

And, just across the street from the Japanese Garden and a nice walk away is the Washington Park Arboretum.

Bonus: The Totem Pole at Washington Park Arboretum

The carvings on the pole are inspired by the traditional Northwest coastal native folk tale, “The Origin of the Eagle Clan.”