The Nishinomiya Tsutakawa Japanese Garden stands as one of Spokane’s many wonders. It opened in 1974 in Manito Park to symbolize the friendship between Spokane and its sister city, Nishinomiya, Japan. Its tranquil and mystic ambiance attracts visitors from all around. The garden revolves around its central feature, the Koi pond, and a surrounding wooden fence encloses most of the grounds. A pebble path leads visitors around the pond and onlookers can even see real Koi fish swimming in the sparkling water. Surrounding the pond are traditional bonsai trees and authentic Japanese sculptures. When you enter into this scene, you can’t help but be swept up by the rich cultural experience.
The garden was originally designed in1970 by the well known landscape architect, Nagao Sakurai, who was once enlisted to design the Imperial Palace. After suffering from a stroke though, he stepped aside and let two Japanese landscape architects, Shosuke Nagai and Hirohika Kawai, step in to complete the work that still needed to be done. Ed Tsutakawa, founder of the Spokane Nishinomiya Sister City relationship, was also instrumental in the construction of the garden. When the garden was complete, the two cities decided to dedicate its name to him, which is where it gets the name today.
In 2004, the Nishinomiya Tsutakawa Japanese Garden ranked 24th among a list of 300 public Japanese gardens by The Journal of Japanese Gardening. It has since moved up in the ranking to number 16. The garden is open daily from 8:00 am to one half hour before dusk, from April 1st through November 1st. To read more on Manito Park history and other gardens it has to offer, visit thefriendsofmanito.org or spokanecity.org.