Kubota Garden, Seattle

Spring time in Seattle. The days are longer and sunnier. Trees are in fool bloom. The air is filled with the heavy fragrance of bulb flowers. It’s a great time to leave the fireplace in favor of exploring the outdoors. My first spring expedition was to Kubota Garden in Seattle. I have to thank my friend Virginia for telling me about this hidden gem in the city. This garden is not very well known. When I searched for driving directions Google Maps asked me about the nature of this address. This rare moment of telling Google something new gave me great pleasure. 

Kubota Garden is a 20 acre Japanese garden. It has strolling paths and many nooks and crannies with different themes and designs: woods, ponds, and grassy areas. In springtime the different blooms act as a visual orchestra of colors and shapes. It’s a beautiful and serene place if you want to spend a relaxing hour (or more) in nature without leaving the city. 

The garden was established in 1927 by Fujitaro Kubota, a Japanese immigrant. Kubota who had a landscaping business, bought 5 acres of swampland in south Seattle and started to create a Japanese garden.  In 1930 he increased the size of the garden to 30 acres. During  Word War II he was forced to abandon the garden as he and his family were interned at Camp Minidoka in Idaho.  After the war, the Kubota family returned to Seattle. With the help of his two sons, Tak and Tom, Fjitaro rebuilt the business and the garden.

Kubota also helped design gardens at Seattle University and at the Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island. In 1972 The Japanese government awarded Kubota the Fifth Class Order of the Sacred Treasure “for his achievements in his adopted country, for introducing and building respect for Japanese Gardening in this area.”  

Kubota maintained the Garden until his death in 1973. His son Tom continued the business and the maintenance of Kubota garden. In 1987 the city of Seattle purchased the Garden. Today the Kubota garden is a public garden.

Address: 9817 55th Ave S, Seattle 98118 
Hours:  6am to 10pm every day
Admission: Free