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Summer of Serenity: 5 Ways to Enjoy the Garden this Summer

Spring and summer are a beautiful time to visit the Garden, and it is also a time when many visitors come to see us. Here’s a guide to taking in the Garden at a time when you can have it more to yourself. We hope you leave the Garden feeling inspired, more connected to nature and with a greater understanding of Japan.

1) Find Stillness During Less Busy Morning and Evening Hours

Photo by Jonathan Ley

Immerse yourself in nature during member only hours before you head into the office for the day. The Garden welcomes members only Tuesday through Sunday as early as 8am and parking is free until 9:30am. Stop into our Umami Café starting at 9am for warm whisked matcha to start your day with a clear head.

If you are seeking a quiet, peaceful moment of stillness after a long day in the office, we are open every day until 7pm. Let go of the day’s stresses with a comforting stroll along our meandering paths. Close your eyes. Let the sound of water falling from Heavenly Falls whisper in your ear and soothe you.

2) Watch as our Beloved Koi are Fed in the Evening

The koi swim faster along the Zigzag Bridge as our gardeners approach. Once a gardener pauses in the center of the bridge, the fish circle, eager for food. The koi are fed dinner at varying times during the evening, but most often around 4pm. Delight in witnessing this playful interaction when you come during the evening hours.

“We have them because they’re beautiful and people like them. They are part of this Garden,” said Senior Gardener Adam Hart.

3) Take an Early Evening Tour at 4pm

Photo by Peter Friedman

Wander our space with a tour guide each evening at 4 pm. Take in the meaning, intentionality, and history of the Garden from one of our well-trained and knowledgeable tour guides. Leave with a stronger connection to nature and experience of peace. Public tours are included with Garden admission.

4) Enjoy the Boundless Benefits of Membership

Photo by Jonathan Ley

As a member, the Garden becomes yours. Use it to engage your senses. Come during the time set-aside just for you; the quiet member-only hours. Photograph the best light, smell the cedar in our new buildings. Feel a breeze across your face as you wander empty paths and over bridges. Feel more connected to nature than ever before.

As a member, you grow with the Garden. You become a part of the experience. Be gentle with yourself, evolve, and you might see the kind of change you desire both in the Garden and yourself. After all, journey and discovery are part of the Japanese garden experience. Learn more about membership.

5) Attend a Tea Ceremony on a Summer Night

A demonstration of Chado, the Way of Tea. / Photo by Jonathan Ley

To find sanctuary in the midst of modern life, we take solace in the serenity of nature. Through Chado, the Way of Tea, sanctuary can be created. Drawing on the elements of nature and our own environment, we can learn the movements of Tea and begin appreciating the balance of stillness and motion.

Our everyday lives are filled with commitments. We crave calm. The Way of Tea can be a tool for slowing down yet paying complete attention to every detail. Tea is a living practice of balancing tradition with the here and now.