Photo by Jonathan Ley

Waza to Kokoro Seminar

Applications for the 2018 Seminar Now Open

Waza to Kokoro Seminar / Photo by Jonathan Ley

Waza to Kokoro (Hands and Heart) is the International Japanese Garden Training Center’s flagship program. It is a certificate program consisting of three intensive training seminars, combining hands-on technical learning with cultural instruction and theoretical knowledge. Waza to Kokoro is designed to help Japanese gardens serving communities across North America to find authentic, locally-appropriate solutions in design, construction, maintenance, and preservation. Admission is also open to landscape design and construction professionals and students of landscape-related disciplines.

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.


Intermediate Level: July 19-30, 2018
Beginner Level: September 20-27, 2018*

*Please note: the Beginner Level Seminar takes place shortly before the 2018 International Japanese Garden Conference hosted by the Portland Japanese Garden.


Waza to Kokoro Seminar / Photo by Jonathan Ley

The seminar’s core focus is on stonework in the Japanese tea garden, taught by visiting Japanese instructors and Portland Japanese Garden staff. Admission: The seminar is designed for professionals working in Japanese gardens, but admission is also open to landscape design and construction professionals as well as students of landscape-related disciplines.

A traditionally-grounded, hands-on learning process is supplemented with preparatory theoretical instruction, with content including:

  • History and aesthetics
  • Design
  • Garden clinic
  • Demonstration and practice with traditional Japanese tools and bamboo fence construction
  • Preparatory lectures for hands-on workshop
  • Hands-on workshop for designing, selecting materials for and building the stone elements of a tea garden
  • Pruning master class
  • Instruction in tea ceremony
  • Food culture discussions’

More Information and How To Apply

The application is now open for the 2018 seminars. Applications and inquiries should be sent to [email protected]

My personal goals were exceeded as the seminar immersed us in the Japanese culture and explained the reasons behind many techniques and ideas used in Japanese gardens.
– Ayse Pogue, Senior Horticulturalist, Elizabeth Hubert Malott Japanese Garden, Chicago Botanical Garden, 2016 participant

Waza to Kokoro Seminar / Photo by Jonathan Ley

Seminar Instructors

The Center’s faculty are drawn from a mixed pool of hands-on practitioners, designers and academics. These include leading Japanese garden artisans descended from families who have gardened for centuries, as well as academics from top U.S. universities and practitioners of garden-related arts.


Documentary Film about the Center