From the Puget Sound Urban Nature Series

Paradise in south Seattle


I climbed the narrow winding path curious of where it would lead. Excited too, because so far my exploration of this lush park was filled with nothing short of wonder at its amazing beauty.

Beginning with my first step through the entrance of Kubota Garden park, I knew I was in a special place.

A gorgeous gate, perfectly manicured lawn and lush vegetation all seemed like a perfectly choreographed greeting to make me feel welcome and happy.

As I wandered lost in the beauty of this American-Japanese garden, I soon tucked away the self-guided tour map that I picked up at the entrance, content to explore intuitively.

The path I now climbed was ascending up a hill. Shrubs and bushes obscured my view, so every turn was a mystery. I could hear water running and soon had my answer as the path opened to a delightful pond and waterfall. It was actually the upper half of the waterfall that I was just viewing below.

I couldn't imagine a place more captivating than the lower falls, but this was. Stopped me mid-stride, mouth open. It was as much about the blissful vibe, as the charm that I loved.

Giant stepping stones crossed the pond leading to the sweetest little bench. I stepped across those stones, plopped myself down with a big sigh and pulled out my journal and camera. Could I just stay here for a day or two I asked.

The upper fall cascaded into a pond with smatterings of duckweed floating on top. Lush evergreen shrubs and plants were everywhere. And, typical to Japanese gardens, the big rocks and stones were as much apart of the landscape, as the vegetation. 

This area was described as a "minature walk into the mountains," in the park brochure. True to its word the climb was short and not too steep.

Many bridges add visual beauty and access to different areas of Kubota Garden ParkDown the hill and around a curve, I crossed a beautfiul red bridge that led to a strolling garden with wide curvy expanses of lawn and a pond terraced off with with large flat rocks. The musical sound of running water was created by a hollow log that channeled water into the pond. It was yet another beautiful area for exploration. 

Enchanting landscape created a soothing strolling garden. Big weeping spruce trees for shade, sculpted shrubs, and ground cover added lovely layers of color and interest to this pretty part of the park.

I wandered nearby to the oldest and most traditional Japanese part of the garden. A beautiful stone sculpture greeted me as I entered the oldest part of the park. Striking grasses and stones accented the serene landscape. Like everywhere else, it was lush and breathtaking.

A beautiful spring-fed pond took center stage with a pathway circling for walkers to explore. According to the park brochure this part of the garden features 12,000 year-old stones left from glaciers in the Seattle area.

Throughout the park, small winding paths veered off from the main larger paths. Don't skip these--it's where much of the park's secrets and allure lie. 

I really didn't know much about Japanese gardens before I visited this park, but my little bit of research supported exactly what I experienced in this delightful place.

Their purpose is to bring serenity into our busy, busy lives. (Kind of mirrors the purpose of Nature Me, right?) Even though they are not natural areas, they are definitely nature-inspired to give us that kind of experience.  

I saw aspects of art, history, engineering and horticulture incorporated throughout the landscape. Elements such as rocks, water, gates, bridges and walls were also part of the diversity of the park. The philosophy incorporates the idea that none of these elements are more important than the other, just well integrated.

I hope I have inspired you to visit this enchanting park. You will, without a doubt, leave transcended by its amazing serenity and beauty. Tours are available, as well. For more information, visit

Here are some other very cool urban parks that you might want to expore on your next day off!!


  -Get inspired


  -Love the dune grass


  -Beauty for you


-Well-loved by Seattleites


  -A jewel in the midst

And to enhance your visit, read...


  -Six easy steps