Seward Park Torii Project
artist rendition, new torii,
For 50 years the entrance to Seward Park was distinguished by a 26-foot tall torii. Now the Friends of Seward Park and community members are working to build a replacement for the former neighborhood icon.
The torii project was recently recommended to receive two grants that together total $110,000.
Watch the "Seward Park Torii Story"
link to documentary
The history of the Seward Park Torii unfolds in this documentary created by John Thorpe and Janis Medley. This oral history project was funded by the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods.
What's new for the Seward Park Torii?
Torii Project Recommended for $110,000 in Grants
The Seward Park Audubon Center and the Seattle Parks Foundation are working with us as partners for our fundraising campaign. You can find our torii merchandise for sale at the Audubon Center. Seattle Parks Foundation is acting as our fiscal sponsor and brings their fundraising expertise to our campaign. We hope to raise the remaining money this fall so we can complete construction by cherry blossom season in April 2016.
With the new grants we are more than halfway to our fundraising goal. While we will be applying for additional grants, your contribution makes a difference and will help to get us to our goal.
In March geotechnical studies were conducted at the future torii site to help design the footings to support the granite columns (hashira) of the new torii.
Cherry Blossom Season
Cherry blossoms are out early this year. The Ko-higan trees were already in bloom on Valentine's Day, and have now been joined by Somei-yoshino, Akebono, and Botan. Join us for Hanami - cherry blossom viewing - in April. See below.
Do you remember the original torii?
Our oral history project is wrapped up, but there is still time to tell us your memories of the torii. Send us your memories, your impressions, or tell us why you support the new torii. It doesn't have to be fancy or more than a sentence. Send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or post a comment on our Facebook page (click the icon below).
Please like us on our Facebook page to see the latest news!
Bicycle Sundays in Seward Park
Join us for a picnic lunch in the park on Bicycle Sundays.At least once a month we'll have a table in Seward Park. Stop by and see our display, or join us for a picnic lunch or tour of the Japanese gifts in the park. Schedule
Remind me what the plan is for the new torii?
Sketch of the new torii - Murase and Associates
With a planning grant from the Department of Neighborhoods, the Friends of Seward Park hired landscape architectural firm Murase Associates, working with Takumi Company, to gather community input on the design of the torii. Community participants chose a design that honors the original Seward Park torii, addresses concerns about long-term maintenance, and reflects current community values and the wilderness character of the park. The columns (hashira) of the torii will be made of granite. The lintel (kasagi) will be made of a single minimally worked piece of wood covered with copper flashing to help protect it from water and to inhibit fungi. The crosspiece (nuki) will be a worked piece of wood that contrasts with the kasagi.
Like the original Seward Park torii, this design takes inspiration from the famous 'floating' torii of Itsukushima shrine at Miyajima, Japan. The hashira are tapered upward like the camphor trees that form the hashira at Miyajima. The hashira will have stone texturing influenced by the stonework of Japanese American sculptor Isamu Noguchi, who created the sculpture Black Sun in Volunteer Park.
The torii will be located close to the site of its predecessor on the north side of the Seward Park Entrance Circle. Certain details of the setting are still under discussion with the Parks Department.
At the end of our current grant, we will have everything we need to begin construction of the new torii except the funding. The Friends will seek additional grants and raise funds for the community to rebuild the torii.
How can I help?
Donate to our project through the Seattle Parks Foundation, or contact us about buying a torii etching, T-shirt, or our book Cherries, Lanterns, and Gates about the torii and other Japanese cultural items in Seattle's Parks. (see donation page).
Tell everyone you know about the project and encourage them to donate.
Join our torii committee.
Share your fundraising ideas with us.
How can I learn more?
Friends of Seward Park
Original Seward Park Torii
Seward Park Torii, 1935-1986
Photograph: Seward Park, 1935
Architect: Kichio Allen Arai
Carpenter: Kichisaburo Ishimitsu
Build-the-Torii model kit
This build-it-yourself model is fun for all ages. See our Donate page to order one of your very own.
New edition: Cherries, Lanterns, and Gates
Our book about Japanese and Japanese American cultural gifts in Seattle parks has been revised to include new discoveries about the history of the torii and cherries in Seward Park. Visit our Donate page to order a copy.
For more haiku, with commentary by haiku judge Michael Dylan Welch of Haiku Northwest, choose "Haiku and T-Shirt Contest Winners and Honorable Mentions" from the menu on the left side of this page.
City Living: Iconic Japanese torii to be restored
Northwest Asian Weekly: Community to restore iconic Japanese gate in Seward Park
Rainier Valley Post:: Community to restore iconic Japanese gate
For more information about Seward Park of Seattle, visit www.sewardpark.org