Photo by Jonathan Ley

About the Center

The garden designer Gertrude Jekyll noted that a garden is a grand teacher, because it teaches us patience, careful watchfulness, and trust. A garden can also — like a gifted educator — inspire curiosity and the desire to learn more. The Portland Japanese Garden’s International Japanese Garden Training Center offers learners of all levels just such an opportunity: to gain a deeper understanding of the art form of the Japanese garden.

Waza to Kokoro Seminar / Photo by Jonathan Ley

Through a variety of programs, the Center teaches the traditional skills and techniques for creating and fostering Japanese gardens, while acquainting learners with the cultural heart and soul of the Japanese garden. The Center offers a hybrid learning approach, engaging both Western and Eastern teaching approaches.

Waza to Kokoro Seminar / Photo by Jonathan Ley

Traditional Japanese learning methods, which emphasize observation and hands-on practice, are combined with readings, lectures, drawing and design practice, and other forms of instruction. Technical skills are given context through demonstrations of Japanese cultural practices – such as tea ceremony, flower arrangement, bonsai cultivation and calligraphy – to help nurture a sense of aesthetics, balance, and composition.

The Center’s workshops, seminars, and public lectures take place at the Garden and offsite venues. Faculty include Portland Japanese Garden staff, as well as visiting practitioners, designers, and academics from the U.S. and Japan.

Applications Now Open for the 2018 Waza to Kokoro Seminar

This seminar, offered in 2018 at the beginner and intermediate levels, focuses on stonework taught in the traditional hands-on method offered in the context of the culture of the way of tea – an immersive learning experience of not just the techniques but the cultural heart of the Japanese garden.

Learn More

We learned about the interconnectedness and how every aspect of Japanese art and culture is in the garden.

– Rebecca Smith, landscape designer, 2017 participant


To view a shorter film about the Waza to Kokoro seminar series, please click here.


For further information on the Center, please contact director Kristin Faurest, Ph.D., at [email protected]