2019 Waza to Kokoro Seminar Applications Now Open!

2019 Waza to Kokoro Seminar Applications Now Open! Blog  Portland Japanese Garden


Applications are now open for the Portland Japanese Garden’s Waza to Kokoro: Hands and Heart professional seminars in Japanese garden arts.

Beginner level: June 3-9, 2019
This entry-level professional course focuses on basic techniques, with an emphasis on hands-on work and the fundamentals of stone elements in the tea garden.

Intermediate level: September. 16-27, 2019
Continuing to emphasize stone as the foundation of the garden, this level brings in more theoretical instruction about other related arts, offers the opportunity for more design practice, and takes participants to the next level in technical skills.


Waza to Kokoro: Hands and Heart is an immersive learning experience combining traditional Eastern and modern Western ways of learning, all framed eloquently in the culture of tea:

  • Japanese garden history and aesthetics
  • Hands-on work in stonesetting for the tea garden
  • Tool use and care
  • Drawing and sketching
  • Working with real-life design problems
  • Experiential learning and discussions on tea and food culture


Seminars are taught by Portland Japanese Garden staff as well as visiting instructors from Japan. Application is open to landscape and horticulture professionals in all sectors.


“I’ll take a lot of the concept from Japanese philosophy into my work–especially the focus on ma, on embracing the negative space, on doing more with less. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to participate! I hope to be involved in more Japanese Garden Training Center happenings in the future.”
– Connie Migliazzo, RLA, ASLA, 2018 participant


The Waza to Kokoro seminar is a presentation of the International Japanese Garden Training Center, which was the recipient of the American Public Gardens Association 2018 Award for Program Excellence. The program was featured earlier this year in Landscape Architecture Magazine: https://landscapearchitecturemagazine.org/2018/02/06/secrets-to-share/



Click here for more information and to register >>

Seminar Dates:
Beginner level: June 3-9, 2019
Intermediate level: September. 16-27, 2019

Application deadline:
Feb. 15, 2019 for beginner level and April 15, 2019 for the intermediate.


About the International Japanese Garden Training Center
The International Japanese Garden Training Center is a new educational initiative of the Portland Japanese Garden. We seek to provide a place in North America for learning the skills and techniques for creating and stewarding Japanese gardens while acquainting students with the cultural heart and soul of Japanese garden arts.

The Center employs an educational model drawing from both Eastern and Western traditions. This includes traditional Japanese hands-on learning methods combined with lectures, experiential cultural instruction, visual arts instruction and other classroom activities – providing learners with an immersive educational experience.

Waza to Kokoro (Hands and Heart) is the 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 realistically help Japanese gardens serving communities across the country meet the need to find authentic, locally-appropriate solutions in design, construction, maintenance, and preservation.

The Center is funded by the Japan Foundation’s Center for Global Partnership.


About Portland Japanese Garden
When His Excellency Nobuo Matsunaga, the former Ambassador of Japan to the United States, visited the Portland Japanese Garden, he proclaimed it to be “the most beautiful and authentic Japanese garden in the world outside of Japan.”

The Garden sits nestled in the West Hills of Portland, Oregon overlooking the city and providing a tranquil, urban oasis for locals and travelers alike. Designed in 1963, it encompasses 12 acres with eight separate garden styles, and includes an authentic Japanese Tea House, meandering streams, intimate walkways, and a spectacular view of Mt. Hood. This is a place to discard worldly thoughts and concerns and see oneself as a small but integral part of the universe.

Born out of a hope that the experience of peace can contribute to a long lasting peace. Born out of a belief in the power of cultural exchange. Born out of a belief in the excellence of craft, evidence in the Garden itself and the activities that come from it. Born out of a realization that all of these things are made more real and possible if we honor our connection to nature.


Cover image courtesy Portland Japanese Garden/Jonathan Ley.