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Manito Park History Blog

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MANITO PARK - History Blog

Manito Japanese Garden Wins More Recognition 

From an article by Nancy Goodspeed dated 1/18/2009:

Spokane’s Nishinomiya Tsutakawa Japanese Garden has been rated number 16 out of more than 300 Japanese gardens in North America. The ranking comes from a 2008 Public Garden Survey done by 45 Japanese garden specialists for the Japanese publication, Sukiya Living Magazine, Journal of Japanese Gardening.

The gardeners were encouraged to avoid selecting gardens solely on the basis of size or fame, and instead to judge quality, level of maintenance, and display of intimate traits such as subtleness, moderation and human scale.

In 2007 Spokane’s garden was ranked 24 out of all 300, so the Garden has moved up considerably on the list to number 16.

Who else was on the 2008 list?
Portland Japanese Garden #2
Seattle Japanese Garden #5
The Bloedel Reserve (Bainbridge Island) #6
JACCC Los Angeles #13
Amherst College (Amherst, MA) #15
Nishinomiya Tsutakawa Japanese Garden #16
Brooklyn Botanic Garden #18
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum (St. Paul, MN) #20
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston #21
Montreal Botanic Garden #24
San Diego Tech Center #26
Denver Botanic Gardens #27
East-West Center (Honolulu) #29

Friends of Manito, Park Staff and Volunteers Make All of this Possible.

Nick Simchuk is the Gardener II in charge of the Japanese Garden. His seasonal help for 2008 was Lars Erpenbach. Donations of plant material were made by the daughter of Ed Tsutakawa, Nancy Tsutakawa, and Dave Daniels of Wabi-Sabi Landscaping. Also in 2008, The Friends of Manito paid to have the overstory pines pruned, and The Inland Empire Koi Society donated time and many koi. As a memorial to Deborah Marie (Jacobson) Craig, her family paid for a koi and donated plant material.

About the Nishinomiya Tsutakawa Japanese Garden
The Nishinomiya Tsutakawa Japanese Garden was completed in 1974 and symbolizes the friendship of Spokane for its sister city, Nishinomiya, Japan. A well-known Japanese landscape architect, Nagao Sakurai, who at one time was in charge of the Imperial Palace grounds, was enlisted to design the garden in 1967. Construction of the waterfall and pond began in 1970. Late in 1973, after Nagao Sukurai suffered a stroke, two landscape architects from Kobe, Japan, Shosuke Nagai and Hirohiko Kawai, were contracted to complete the garden, which was dedicated by both cities on May 17, 1974. In December 2007 the Garden was renamed to honor Ed Tsutakawa, founder of the Spokane Nishinomiya Sister City relationship and a champion of the Sister City movement in Spokane for 45 years until his death in October 2007. To visit the Official Web Site of the City of Nishinomiya please go to



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