Seward Park Torii  Project 
                               artist rendition, new torii,
Ted Weinberg

For 50 yea
rs 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. 

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 torii project was recently recommended to receive two grants that together total $110,000.
  • The torii project has been recommended by the Department of Neighborhoods' City Wide Review team for a 100K Neighborhood Matching Fund Large Project grant. Final approval by the city council and the mayor will be this fall.
  • The project has also been recommended for a $10K grant from the Hugh and Jane Ferguson Foundation.  Funds will likely be available in September

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.
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 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 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.
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. 
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

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

ur 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 from public contest for the best design and best haiku about Seward Park. To purchase your 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