The Tsubo-Niwa Garden in front of the Jordan Schnitzer Japanese Arts Learning Center. / Photo by Julia Taylor
Photo by Bruce Forster

After climbing the hillside via the pathway, visitors arrive at the Tateuchi Courtyard that accommodates the new Cultural Village. On one side of the Courtyard, a small “vignette” garden known as Tsubo-Niwa (courtyard garden) greets visitors, providing a symbolic and organic “relief” amongst the geometric architecture.

/ Photo by Tyler Quinn

Occupying very little actual space, this tiny urban garden nevertheless incorporates each essential element of a Japanese garden: stone, water, and plants. It unobtrusively places nature as the central focus of the Cultural Village.

The tsubo-niwa is a garden style that originated in small open spaces between the buildings of temples and aristocratic dwellings as far back as the Heian period (794-1185) and by the middle of the 16th century they had become a feature of many of the urban dwellings of the townspeople who sought to include a touch of nature in the smallest available space of every home.