Spokane’s Japanese Garden

Bridge over placid koi pond.  Japanese Garden.  Spokane, WA.  Photo: KGilb.

Bridge over placid koi pond. Japanese Garden. Spokane, WA. Photo: KGilb.

The Nishinomiya Tsutakawa Japanese Garden in Spokane, WA, is not one of the largest Japanese gardens in the Pacific NW. Nor is it the oldest, but it is a uniquely pretty spot to while away an hour or so on a hot summer day.

A tall fence surrounds the garden. An intrinsic part of the landscape, this wooden “buffer” mutes all those annoying noises from the outside world and so adds to the feeling of peace and serenity found inside the gates.

A gravel path winds throughout the space, leading visitors to hidden alcoves where they can sit and meditate. Or just listen to an errant breeze rustling through the treetops. All along the path, a variety of stone lanterns and pagodas can be found tucked away among the foliage.

The garden’s central feature is a koi pond fed by a small waterfall that cascades down from an outcropping of jagged rock. The green space surrounding the pond is dotted with stones and a lush variety of bonsai-sculpted trees and bushes. And the calm waters are spanned by a traditional arched bridge which seems to be a favorite stopping point for everyone.

Spokane’s Japanese garden was the creation of Nagao Sakurai, once the chief landscape architect at Japan’s Imperial Palace. Completed in the spring of 1974, the garden symbolizes the friendship that exists between Spokane and its sister city, Nishinomiya, Japan.

The garden is open daily April 1st through November 1st, from 8am until one half hour before dusk. Admission is free. (though donations are gratefully accepted) Kids under 12 are welcome, if accompanied by an adult. But please leave your four-footed friends at home or in the car. No puppies allowed.

The Nishinomiya Tsutakawa Japanese Garden is located at the west end of Manito Park in Spokane, WA. For detailed directions and a map, please check the Friends of Manito website. Once inside the park, just follow the signs!

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