Invitation to a most memorable trip to Japan in 2015 | Koichi Kobayashi

Invitation to the most memorable trip to Japan in 2015 (update Dec.2014) | Koichi Kobayashi –

You are invited to join a select group of people to participate in building a memorial Japanese Garden to commemorate victims of the March 11, 2011 tsunami / earthquake in Tohoku, Japan. This garden building project is organized by Japanese Garden Association as a 5 year program. You will receive training from traditional Japanese gardeners who supervise building and will meet young gardeners from all around Japan as well.

 After garden building, we will visit gardens and temples of World Heritage designation,  coastal cities undergoing recovery and a coastline area which is designated as a new National Park. Travel will start from Seattle on October 8 through 22 ending in Tokyo.  Optional travel goes to Kyoto/Osaka.

There are many of you who have benefited overtime from being associated with Japan or apprenticed and studied in Japan, yet some of you including myself,  do not know how to assist Tohoku, Japan in their recovery  in some meaningful and constructive way.

There is a unique opportunity to assist in building a Japanese Garden near Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture. This garden, when completed, will be a memorial and prayer for victims of disaster and commemorate their efforts in recovery and future development.

Design and building of this garden is organized by the Sendai Chapter of the Japanese Garden Society. It is being built on a five year program with a completion date set at 2019 to coincide with the Society’s 100 year anniversary.

 This is an excellent opportunity for those thinking and pondering how best to participate in recovery in Tohoku. You could attempt to do that in signing up  for a work study and volunteer program being developed by Koichi Kobayashi with an assistance from Japanese Garden Society and NAJGA.

 With this program, participants will engage in assisting building a commemorative Japanese garden under Japanese expert’s supervision, visiting and learning conditions and people of cities devastated.

 This is the base program for thirteen days. There could be an optional tour to Kyoto, for five days. Program start will start on October 8, 2015 in Sendai with October 8 departure from Seattle. Cost will be around $4,800.

If you are interested in joining, please send your name, address, email, work place, profession etc. to Koichi Kobayashi. Ph. 206- 2869644


Japanese Gardens Within Cultural Context | Online Course

DATE & TIME: January 20 – May 15, 2015  Online course – access course materials any time that’s convenient for you!

DESCRIPTION:  Journey to Japan without leaving your home! This course will introduce different styles of Japanese architecture and gardens and analyze the historical, cultural and political background that influenced the garden designs. It will examine various other art disciplines, such as painting, crafts, and literature. Online videos will present not only Japanese gardens and cultures but also bring about an understanding of the similarity and differences between Japanese culture and other Asian cultures and the role of Japanese gardens in North America.

INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Seiko Goto ( Dr. Goto is an Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture at Rutgers University. She is author of the book The Japanese Garden: Gateway to the Human Spirit (2003, Peter Lang Publishing) and has written chapters on Japanese Landscape Art for the Encyclopedia of World Environmental History (2003, Berkshire Publishing) and on Confucianism and Garden Design for Confucianism and Ecology (1998, Harvard University Press). She earned master’s degrees in Landscape Architecture from Harvard University and in Horticulture from Chibu University in Japan. Her research for her doctorate degree from Chibu University in Japan focused on the History of Japanese Gardens. She joined the faculty of Rutgers University in 2006.

This class is a great prelude to the workshop Dr. Goto will be running in Japan in 2015. Click here to download the pdf brochure about the trip of a lifetime!


  • Introduce major gardens and figures which played important roles in the development of Japanese garden design.
  • Introduce history of Japanese art.
  • Introduce the Japanese culture which influenced the development of Japanese garden design.
  • Understand the characteristics of the Japanese garden in its cultural context.
  • Understand the influence of the Japanese garden in the Western countries.

COURSE FORMAT: This course will use web-based education consisting of readings, review assignments, online threaded discussion, quizzes, two exams, and a paper.

Videos: You will begin each topic area by watching the video. Each week day, two new topics will be introduced through lecture video(s). One topic will be composed of 1-2 parts which will take 15-30 minutes. Each video contains 1-2 quizes. You are responsible for watching the video sometime during the week and taking the associated quiz by Friday midnight. The videos have references to other optional readings. You may use these to learn more about the topic and as reference for your answers for online quizzes.

For more information, visit:  Japanese Gardens Within Cultural Context | Online Course | Rutgers NJAES Office of Continuing Professional Education.


2014 NAJGA Biennial Conference photos

Check out the link below for more photos from the 2014 NAJGA Conference held at the Chicago Botanic Garden from October 15 to 18, with pre-conference workshop and tours at the Garden of the Phoenix, Anderson  Japanese Garden and Rosecrance Garden.

2014 NAJGA Conference photos



Slideshow – 2014 North American Japanese Garden Association Conference

We reminisce on those four days of learning, doing, meeting old and new friends in the Japanese gardening community,  and seeing four beautiful Japanese gardens in the Chicago area in their autumn glory: Sansho-en at the Chicago Botanic Garden, Garden of the Phoenix in Chicago’s Jackson Park, Anderson Japanese Garden and Rosecrance Garden in Rockford, Illinois.

Around 200 delegates from USA, Canada, Japan and the United Kingdom got together in Chicago last October 15 to 18 to attend workshops and listen to lectures on design and horticulture, health and wellness in the garden, Japanese garden history, business practices and educational programming.