CONTRIBUTED BY DENVER BOTANIC GARDENS
The Shofu-en Japanese Garden was dedicated on June 23, 1979 with a formal ceremony, complete with a blessing from a Shinto priest. The garden was designed by renowned landscape architect Koichi Kawana, who created Japanese Gardens across the United States, including Balboa Park in San Diego, Chicago Botanic Garden and Missouri Botanical Garden.
Shofu-en means “garden of pine and wind” and is a traditional Japanese garden that also reflects its Colorado setting with native Ponderosa pine trees. Japanese trees cannot survive in Colorado, so the native trees are regularly pruned and shaped to keep the petite, sculptural aesthetic. Many of the Ponderosa pines are more than 100 years old. The trees were collected by the Rocky Mountain Bonsai Society with permission from Rocky Mountain National Park.
A traditional tea house and bridge were built in Japan, taken apart, shipped to Denver and reassembled by Japanese artisans in 1979. The north gate and concrete lanterns were also made in Japan. The tea house garden and Bonsai Pavilion were added in 2012.
Celebration Events And Programs
Haiku TreeOn view through late October. Included with Gardens admission. Visitors are invited to write a haiku and attach it to the haiku tree in the Japanese Garden, across the path from the pond deck. In Japanese, a haiku poem is usually divided into three groups/lines of syllables, the first and last with five syllables, the second with seven. The “tree” is made to look like a udon noodle drying.
Then and Now PhotosOn view through December 31, 2019
Visitors can look for enlarged historical photographs in the Japanese Garden that show how each location looked in 1979 through the early 1980s.
Japanese Tea CeremonyJuly 27, 28, August 10, 11, 24, 25, September 7, 8, 21, 22, 10 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.$35, $30 member
For centuries, the tea ceremony has been considered the epitome of Japanese life, based on harmony, respect, purity, tranquility and elegant simplicity. Experience a traditional ceremony inside the Gardens’ tea house.
Forest Bathing Guided WalkMonday, August 5, September 9, 9-11:30 a.m.
Experience the relaxing Japanese practice of forest bathing: shinrin-yoku. Studies suggest that a regular practice of forest bathing may be associated with a reduction in blood pressure, heart rate and stress hormones. During this walk, the guide invites ways to engage the senses for closer connection with the surrounding nature.$30, $25 member
Pikachu and Hello Kitty Meet and GreetFriday, August 9 and 23, Sept. 13 and 27, Oct. 4 and 18, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.Included with Gardens admission
Japanese pop culture characters Pikachu and Hello Kitty hang out in the Japanese Garden for photos with visitors. During inclement weather, the characters will be in the Boettcher Memorial Center lobby.
Japanese Chabako in the GardensSunday, August 11 and September 8, 9-9:40 a.m., 10-10:40 a.m. and 11-11:40 a.m.$14, $12 member
The tea ceremony has been an integral part of Japanese culture for centuries, prized for its inclusion of many of Japan’s traditional arts. This tea ceremony takes place not in the traditional teahouse but out in the Gardens. This immersive demonstration of the Chabako practice (boxed tea), is specifically designed to be enjoyed outdoors, where tea and a sweet will be served along with a discussion on tea and the seasonal motifs within the Gardens.
Denver Taiko Drum Performance and Mini-LectureThursday, September 17, 6:30-7:30 p.m.Included with Gardens admission
Visitors can enjoy two 15-minute performances by Denver Taiko and a brief lecture about the history of Taiko drumming. Denver Taiko was founded in 1976, a nonprofit community organization that honors their cultural heritage through the exhilarating performance art of Japanese drumming.This event is made possible by Sakura Foundation.
Gather: An Intimate Pop-Up Sushi DinnerSeptember, TBD
Gather is a pop-up dining experience featuring four to five innovative courses prepared by local chefs. The 2019 series’ culinary theme is Asia and is presented in partnership with the Asian Chamber of Commerce and Dragon 5280. The September event features Japanese cuisine in the Orangery. The event is BYOB and the chef recommends pairings in advance.
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