First Thursday in Seattle is a big deal: It’s a major day for gallery openings through the First Thursday Artwalk, and a free day for many area cultural destinations, including the Seattle Art Museum, MOHAI, and the Volunteer Park Conservatory. Starting this April, that’ll include the Seattle Japanese Garden, too—at least from 3 p.m. to close.
The 3.5-acre formal garden, nestled in the Washington Park Arboretum, was constructed in 1960 under the supervision of landscape architect Juki Iida. Plant life is a combination of Japanese species and those native to the Pacific Northwest. A winding path runs over bridges and past lanterns, stone features, and small buildings, designed for slow, reflective strolls.
In addition to free admission, First Thursdays will provide some kind of programming relevant to the garden. First up on April 5, participants of a “dementia-friendly” arts program, who have been coming to the garden over the past year and creating watercolor paintings, will showcase their work in the Tateuchi Community Room.
Normally, it costs $8 for full adult admission, $6 for Seattle residents, or $4 for youths, seniors, students, and people with disabilities. The garden is open to 6 p.m. through the end of April, but extends its opening hours to 7 p.m. in the summer—expanding the free hours, too.
Springtime is a busy time for the Washington Park Arboretum. The free admission to the Japanese Garden lines up nicely with a newly revamped Arboretum Loop Trail—and maybe Azalea Way starting to bloom, too—so it’s not a bad time to make a day of it.