Find Posts By Topic

Free First Thursdays Return to Seattle Japanese Garden April 5

Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a regular who’s been coming for decades, you’re invited to experience Free First Thursday at the recently reopened Seattle Japanese Garden. This garden—sometimes referred to as the jewel of the Seattle Parks system—transports visitors out of the hurried pace and pressures of urban life, immersing them in the refined and serene beauty unique to Japanese-style gardens.

Azaleas in bloom at the Seattle Japanese Garden, photo credit: Aurora Santiago

For the second year, on every first Thursday of the month starting in April, visitors will be able to enter the gates free of charge from 3 p.m. until closing. In addition to the ever-changing colors and textures provided by the meticulously pruned trees and plants, garden visitors will be able to enjoy a Japanese culture-inspired arts event each month.

On April 5, we invite you to check out the exuberant rhododendrons in bloom, and to stop by the Tateuchi Community Room for a very special artist reception. For the past two years, participants of Dementia-Friendly Recreation have been coming to the garden regularly, turning their inspiration into vibrant watercolor paintings. “A Year in the Garden” is a culmination of the work they’ve created, and it will be their first exhibit at the garden. All art featured was created in the “Arts in the Park” program, a partnership between Seattle Parks and Recreation and Elderwise with sponsorship by Careforce. The reception will be held from 4:00 to 5:45 p.m. and light refreshments will be served. The garden will be open until 6 p.m.

Elderwise Japanese Garden watercolor class, photo credit: Cayce Cheairs

Seattle Japanese Garden began offering Free First Thursdays in April 2017 as a pilot program with the belief that every resident of Seattle deserved equitable access. Over the course of the year, over 3,000 visitors who may not otherwise have been able to, visited the garden free of charge, and delighted in the seasonal beauty from lush spring to fiery fall—taking photographs and making lasting memories with friends and family along the way.

The Seattle Japanese Garden is located at 1075 Lake Washington Blvd. E.

To see all upcoming events at the Seattle Japanese Garden, or to learn more about their Free First Thursday program, visit their website at