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The Garden as a Teacher

Opportunities to Learn

To learn about the Japanese garden is to dive headlong into the deep waters of a culture’s heart and soul – learning not just about compositions of stone, plants, and water, but also about spirituality, poetry, aesthetics, architecture, applied arts, and so much more.

Sadafumi Uchiyama, Garden Curator, assists with teaching Japanese gardening principles

Our International Japanese Garden Training Center offers learners of all levels the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the garden and its connection to other art forms. The Center is a unique kind of school with its own distinctive teaching philosophy – the only such program in the world outside of Japan. We teach the traditional skills and techniques for creating and fostering Japanese gardens, while acquainting our learners with the garden’s cultural spirit and placing the art form in vibrant new contexts. Learners in the Center’s programs range from elementary school students studying haiku to accomplished garden professionals learning how to construct the stone components of a tea garden.

Hugo Torii, Director of Grounds Maintenance

Workshops, themed tours, school programs, lectures, professional seminars, and design intensives take place at the Garden and offsite venues. Visiting and permanent faculty include Garden staff (like Director of Ground Maintenance Hugo Torii, pictured) and renowned practitioners, designers, and academics from the U.S., Japan, and other countries. The Center is a proud recipient of the 2018 Program of Excellence Award from the American Public Gardens Association.

“I’m still digesting all the moments, looking over at Sada’s sketches and observations, hearing all the presentations and remembering all the leaves falling as I watched the details around the garden. Simply magical.”
— Anael Resino, Boulder-based stonemason and Center student

Applications are now open for Waza to Kokoro: Hands and Heart Seminar Level 1 (formerly beginner) on June 8-14 and open in March for the August seminar. Learn more here. 

Find more information including 2020 programs with ticket sales and application deadlines at: