A Passage into Serenity at Denver Botanic Gardens

asianave August 2, 2012 Comments Off

By: Claire Shepherd Lanier, Ph.D.

Old, weathered stone, cool water and traditional Japanese lanterns add atmosphere to the understated and elegant Bill Hosokawa Bonsai Pavilion and Tea Garden. This new area provides a distinctive sense of entry into the Japanese Garden (Shofu-En), originally built in the 1970s.

The expansion of the Japanese Garden was dedicated on June 20, 2012 in honor of Dr. William Hosokawa (1915 – 2007), a journalist and eloquent spokesperson for the Asian-American community.

The many distinguished guests included Consul General Ikuhiki Ono, a representative from Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s Office, and Bill Hosokawa’s children and grandchildren. A bust of Dr. Hosokawa now presides over the eastern end of the Japanese Garden.
The goal of the memorial committee, established for Dr. Hosokawa, has now come full circle with the placement of the bust at the dedication of the Bill Hosokawa Bonsai Pavilion and Tea Garden. The original committee consisted of the Japan America Society of Colorado, Japanese Association, Tri-State Denver Buddhist Temple, Japan Firms Association of Colorado and members of the Hosokawa family.

The pavilion area is simple and natural. Clean lines contribute to a carefully orchestrated informality. Here, walls become enclosures with dividers controlling views and opening vistas. Some are partial screens revealing, then hiding, what is behind. There are three types of bonsai trees on display: traditional bonsai, Rocky Mountain bonsai and tropical bonsai.

In the subtle language of Japanese gardens gates become symbols of passage. The main gate into Shofu-En symbolizes entry into this serene and special space. This entrance was designed by Sadafumi Uchiyama, garden curator at The Portland Japanese Garden.
The entry gate is perfectly sited to provide the illusion that the garden extends forever with the Rocky Mountains far in the distance. Nearby, another path meanders toward the traditional Tea House. Here visitors approach the Tea House guided by a roji (an alleyway or path), incorporating artistically placed stepping stones. Guests are encouraged to release their earthly cares by “bowing” before entering the space through a low opening in the fence. Visit the Bill Hosokawa Bonsai Pavilion and Tea Garden and experience this simple passage into serenity.


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