“Waza to Kokoro” – Now Accepting Applications!

The Portland Japanese Garden’s new International Institute for Japanese Garden Arts and Culture is a new educational initiative at the garden, launching in 2017. The Institute teaches the traditional skills and techniques for creating and stewarding Japanese gardens for future generations while also acquainting students with the heart and soul of aesthetics at the root of Japanese garden design, construction and maintenance.

The Institute provides instruction to help meet design, construction and maintenance needs of Japanese gardens serving communities across North America, with a low student-teacher ratio that allows for individual consultation. The three-tier Waza to Kokoro training program is the Institute’s main program, but the Institute also hosts short master-level workshops, public lectures by prominent writers and lecturers, and other programs that integrate gardening skills with cultural knowledge. Our goal is to provide a place in North America to learn the skills and techniques (waza) for creating and stewarding Japanese gardens while acquainting students with the cultural heart and soul (kokoro) of Japanese garden arts.


Waza to Kokoro is a hands-on seminar led by Portland Japanese Garden staff and visiting garden artisans from Japan with literally generations of experience. The seminar includes a hands-on stone workshop, history module, design module, garden clinic, tea sessions and short lectures on food culture and other topics.

August 25 – September 5, 2017

Portland Japanese Garden, including our new Kengo Kuma-designed Cultural Village, as well as off-site at Smith Rock, Inc., in Southeast Portland.

The focus will be on stonework taught in the traditional hands-on method offered in the context of the culture of the way of tea—an immersive learning experience of not just the techniques but the cultural heart of the Japanese garden.

Featured speaker:
Marc P. Keane – landscape architect and renowned author of multiple books on Japanese garden design and history, including the forthcoming Japanese Garden Notes: A Visual Guide to Elements and Design.

To apply:
Application is quick and simple. Updated application materials and the 2016 seminar report can be accessed at: www.japanesegarden.com/institute, where you can also view a very enjoyable short promotional film about the 2016 seminar and the Institute for Japanese Garden Arts and Culture (embedded below.) Early bird registration and a limited number of scholarships are still available to help keep costs to a minimum.

Download application here >> (deadline EXTENDED to February 28, 2017!)

Download seminar information packet here >>

Download report on the 2016 seminar here >>


Cover image courtesy Portland Japanese Garden/Jonathan Ley.