And so it begins...

The Seward Park Torii is under construction! At long last, on Wednesday August 15, 2018, fences were put up to mark off the construction site on the north side of the Seward Park entrance circle. Actual groundbreaking by WS Construction is likely to be a couple of weeks off. The tree for the kasagi and nuki (crosspieces) is still in British Columbia, though it should make its way to LS Cedar on Vashon Island for cutting soon. Basalt hashira (columns) are still to be selected from Central Washington. Probably the first work you will see will be construction of the foundation for the massive columns!

Fundraising is Complete!

We reached our goal of $315K to build the Torii just over one year ago. Seattle Parks has taken on the project to oversee the construction. They even have a page for us:

We are planning our opening celebration probably for April 2019 (cherry blossom season); we look forward to seeing you there. Keep watch for updates on the timeline and possible other events this fall.
Donate! here

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, with support from the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, the Seattle Parks Foundation, Seattle Parks and Recreation, and many other 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 in 2015.  This oral history project was funded by the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods.

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 Washington. 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. 

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 onour Facebook page (click the icon below).

How can I help?
  • Donate to our project through the Seattle Parks Foundation
  • 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.
  • 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?
Watch our video "The Seward Park Torii Story" using the link at the top of this page. Download our informational brochures at the top right  of this page, or below. 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, Seattle Municipal Archives, Architect: Kichio Allen Arai
Carpenter: Kichisaburo Ishimitsu          

Major Donors

Seattle Dept. of Neighborhoods Matching Fund Award
Tsuchino and Mike Forrester
The Tateuchi Foundation
Stim Bullitt Parks Excellence Fund
Mimi Kraus Estate
Hugh and Jane Ferguson Foundation
The John L. O'Brien Family
Nintendo Company

Friends of Seward Park 
Japanese Community Service
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 Parks Foundation
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
Bruce Harrell, Council President Seattle
Bob Hasegawa, State Senator, 11th District
Tom Ikeda, Densho Project
Sharon Tomiko Santos, State Representative, 37th District

the new torii is in collaboration with Seattle Parks Foundation and Seattle Parks and Recreation

New! Download a brochure!

Torii Project Brochure:
Torii tri fold 2015.07.16 -1.pdf

Self-guided Walking Tour of Japanese Gifts

Cherry Blossoms in Seward Park
Hanami trifold3.docx
Please Donate! here

 Media Coverage

Paul Talbert,
Oct 9, 2015, 10:36 PM
Paul Talbert,
Oct 10, 2015, 12:48 AM
Paul Talbert,
Feb 28, 2013, 10:41 PM
Paul Talbert,
Sep 8, 2015, 1:35 AM
Paul Talbert,
Oct 10, 2015, 12:43 AM