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Apply Now for the 2018 Waza to Kokoro Seminars

It feels like we just moments ago bade farewell to 2017 seminar participants. Yet, already, it’s time to invite applications for the 2018 beginner- and intermediate-level seminars!

Photo by Jonathan Ley

“Waza to Kokoro – Hands and Heart” is an intensive training seminar in the art of the Japanese garden, with special focus on the use of stone. This holistic learning experience is woven from threads of garden history, Japanese aesthetics, design, stonework, pruning, traditional tool use and care, tea ceremony, and food culture. We designed it to serve professionals at Japanese gardens across North America, but we welcome applications from other landscape practitioners, too. Our 2017 seminar attracted practitioners from North American Japanese gardens but also from landscape architecture, landscape design, construction, and horticulture. For each, Waza to Kokoro brought a different set of challenges and revelations.

“We learned about the interconnectedness, and how every aspect of Japanese art and culture is in the garden,” said Rebecca Smith, a freelance landscape designer. For Iain Devine, a gardener at Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford, Illinois, the drawing and design assignments represented a new level.  “I was intimidated by the idea of drawing,” he said. “Focusing on sketching was a huge help for me. I gained a more in-depth perspective.”

Waza to Kokoro Seminar / Photo by Kristin Faurest

April Chastain, who chairs Clackamas Community College’s Horticulture Department, felt that the seminar’s hands-on element had the greatest impact for her. “It reaffirmed my belief that you need to respect the labor process and not just jump into design or management, but spend some time in the field,” she noted.

Photo by Jonathan Ley

Our participants arrived from different places, but with a common passion and curiosity about the Japanese garden. They learned from the visiting Japanese instructors, from the Portland Japanese Garden staff who taught in the program, and from one another.

A garden practitioner’s work is founded on a certain kind of idealism and hope, an eye towards a lovelier future. I believe that the skills and knowledge gained at this year’s seminar will contribute to a world with more garden spaces that offer more people a sublime and restorative experience. And I already look forward to getting to know our 2018 participants.

– Kristin Faurest, Ph.D., Director, International Japanese Garden Training Center

Learn More about the Seminar or Apply

Waza to Kokoro – Hands and Heart is the International Japanese Garden Training Center’s flagship program, consisting of three levels of intensive training seminars that combine hands-on technical learning with cultural instruction and theoretical knowledge. Application for the 2018 beginner- and intermediate-level seminars is now open.

The Center is funded by the Japan Foundation’s Center for Global Partnership. To learn more about the seminar or about the Center’s other educational programs, contact