Shofu-En Japanese Garden



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The Japanese Garden, Shofu-En, or "Garden of the Pine Winds", was designed by Koichi Kawana, who also designed the Japanese Gardens in San Diego, Chicago, and St. Louis. It was dedicated in 1979. Here in Denver, he decided to feature Colorado plants in the classic Japanese style. Kawana collected over 100 ponderosa pines (Pinus ponderosa) that had been stunted by harsh, windy conditions in Roosevelt National Forest above Boulder, Colorado. He transplanted them and trimmed them to look like clouds floating above the surface of the garden. Some of these small trees are more than 200 years old. To keep them small, the tips of the new growth (called candles) are snapped off in spring and branches trimmed and tied to preserve their shape.

Koichi Kawana also designed the teahouse, which was built in Japan, disassembled and rebuilt on its site. Large flat rocks under the poles allow the building to "bounce" in an earthquake as is traditional in Japan. Traditional Japanese tea ceremonies are held during the summer months; preregistration is required.

The pond represents a miniature ocean or lake with slabs of stone representing boat docks and pilings. The island in the middle of the pond is called Crane Island because there is no bridge to the island, it is considered a mystical place and unreachable by mortals.

For a list of plants in the Japanese Garden, Click Here.

Shofu-En Japanese Garden Gallery - Click Images to Enlarge

Images © Denver Botanic Gardens

Japanese Garden view over pond in November 2023
Japanese Garden view over pond in November 2023

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Photography © Denver Botanic Gardens

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