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Shofuso – The Japanese House and Garden

Serenity and elegance in Fairmount Park

The Japanese House and Garden in Fairmount Park

The Japanese House and Garden in Fairmount Park Credit: G. Widman for GPTMC


Enter a place of harmony and tranquility, where the large stone statue of the Buddhist deity Jizo keeps silent watch over the Shofuso in its home away from home in Fairmount Park. Explore the Pine Breeze Villa, fragrant from its tatami mats and hinoki bark roof; across the wooden bridge, a tea garden leads past lanterns to the ceremonial teahouse complex.

Follow the stepping-stone pathway alongside Japanese maples, azaleas and handsome conifers; behind the house, walk onto a small island in the koi-filled pond. Graceful cherry, plum and dogwood trees rain delicate pink and white petals in the spring. A bamboo grove and a stone pagoda donated by the city of Kyoto complete the ornamental garden.

First established as a Japanese-style landscape for the 1876 Centennial Exposition, the current garden was designed by Sano Tansai in 1958 when the authentic shoin-style Japanese house was moved here from New York’s Museum of Modern Art. For Philadelphia’s 1976 Bicentennial celebration, the garden was extensively renovated by Nakajima Kenji in the authentic Momoyama style of early 17th-century Japan.

Kids’ Stuff

As they hop along the stepping stones, children are quick to glimpse the flashes of orange and gold from the koi in the pond.

Pause on the teahouse porch to savor a tranquil moment and catch the reflection of this special place in the quiet pond.


Horticultural and Lansdowne Drives Philadelphia, PA 19131
(215) 878-5097


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