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Seward Park Torii Gate Restoration Project        

For 50 years the entrance to Seward Park was distinguished by a 26-foot tall torii, or Japanese gate. Now the Friends of Seward Park and community members are working to build a replacement for the former neighborhood icon, which was removed in the mid-1980's due to aging and decay.

What's new for the torii project?

Fundraising Campaign Underway
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 recently received a $5000 gift from Nintendo.

Geotechnical Study
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 wrapping 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 or post a comment on our Facebookpage (click the icon at the top of this page). Look for a showing of our video later this spring.

Please visit our Facebook page to see the latest news!  Join us at the Cherry Blossom Festival or  for a picnic lunch in the park on Bicycle Sundays or find our table at one of the summer festivals coming up (schedule below).

Upcoming Events

Hanami - Cherry blossom viewing in Seward Park
On April 11 at 10:00-11:30 am join Paul Talbert for a cherry blossom walk, in which we'll learn about the different kinds of cherries in Seward Park, their botany and cultural significance, and how they came to be there. We'll also talk about the history of the torii and other Japanese cultural gifts in the park, and get an update on the torii project. Meet at the Seward Park Audubon Center. Free.

Seattle Cherry Blossom and Japanese Cultural Festival, April 24-26
Join us at the festival and experience Japanese culture. The Festival began in Seward Park in 1976, but moved to Seattle Center after three years because of rain.

Bicycle Sundays in Seward Park
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.
Check back for specific dates!

Sketch of  the new torii in context- Murase Associates

Remind me what the plan is 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 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.

What's next?

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. Neighborhood Matching Fund Large Project grants are offered yearly, and we can apply next year. Meanwhile we must raise matching funds from the community. 

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?

Click the links on the left for the Torii Slide Show, the Story of the Seward Park Torii, Torii FAQ, and All About Torii (from Wikipedia).

Return here often to learn more as we update this site with new information and our progress.  

Thank you, 
Friends of Seward Park


    Original Seward Park Torii, 1935-c. 1986
    Photograph: Seward Park, 1935
    Architect: Kichio Allen Arai, 1901-1966
    Carpenter: Kichisaburo Ishimitsu          

Build-the-Torii model kits.


This build-it-yourself model is fun for kids of all ages. See our Donate page to order one of your very own.


New edition of 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.

Support our project with a torii T-shirt

Adult T-shirt winning design

Our T-shirt was specially designed in public contests for the best design and best haiku about Seward Park. 

To purchase a T-shirt, see our donation page or email

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.

Paul Talbert,
Feb 28, 2013, 10:37 PM
Paul Talbert,
Feb 28, 2013, 10:41 PM
Paul Talbert,
Feb 28, 2013, 10:37 PM
Paul Talbert,
Feb 28, 2013, 10:53 PM
Paul Talbert,
Feb 28, 2013, 10:35 PM
Paul Talbert,
Feb 28, 2013, 10:36 PM