Seward Park Torii Project
artist rendition of new torii, by Ted Weinberg
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 recently received 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 in 2015. This oral history project was funded by the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods.
What's new for the Seward Park Torii?
Torii Project Receives $110,000 in Grants
With the new grants we are more than halfway to our fundraising goal. We hope to raise the remaining money this fall so we can complete construction in 2016.
While we will be applying for additional grants, your contribution makes a difference and will help to get us to our goal!
Please Donate! here
In March geotechnical studies were conducted at the future torii site to help design the footings to support the new torii. After exploring different options for stone, we are currently completing construction drawings for the torii and ADA accessible pathway.
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).
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
What is the plan for the new torii?
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 natural basalt columns from central Washingotn. The lintel (kasagi) will be made of a single minimally worked piece of western red cedar. 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.
At the end of our current grant for construction drawings, we will have everything we need to begin construction of the new torii except full funding. The Friends will seek additional grants and raise funds from the community to rebuild the torii.
How can I help?
How can I learn more?
Friends of Seward Park
Original Seward Park Torii
Seward Park Torii, 1935-1986
Photograph: Seward Park, 1935, Seattle Municipal Archives
Architect: Kichio Allen Arai
Carpenter: Kichisaburo Ishimitsu
New! Download a brochure!
Torii Project Brochure:
Seattle Dept of Neighborhoods Matching Fund Award
Mimi Kraus Estate
Hugh and Jane Ferguson Foundation
Friends of Seward Park
Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Washington
Japanese Queen Scholarship Organization
Lakewood Seward Park Community Club
Rainier Valley Historical Society
Seattle Parks and Recreation
Seattle Cherry Blossom and Japanese Cultural Festival
Seattle Kishu Club
Seward Park Audubon Center
Wing Luke Museum
Knute Berger, Journalist & author
Rimban Castro, Seattle Buddhist Church
Sally Clark, former Seattle City Council Member
Bruce Harrell, Seattle City Council Member
Bob Hasegawa, State Senator, 11th District
Tom Ikeda, Densho Project
Sharon Tomiko Santos, State Representative, 37th District
David Williams, Author & naturalist
Please Donate! here
Support our project with a torii T-shirt
Declare your participation in building the torii with a winning T-shirt from our kids' T-shirt design contest: "I maked dis".
On the back find the winning haiku from our kid's haiku contest:
T-shirts and other merchandise can also be found at the Seward Park Audubon Center, 5902 Lake Washington Boulevard, Seattle 98118.
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
Please like us on our Facebook page to see the latest news!