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.

Seward Park Torii Project Approaches Full Funding
The Seward Park Torii Project received a large boost in funding at the beginning of March when it received a donation of 1000 shares of Starbucks stock valued at $58,700 from Tsuchino and Mike Forrester. An additional investment of $30,000 was received from the Stim Bullitt Parks Excellence Fund.

Tsuchino Forrester, who with her husband Mike, is active in cultural affairs in the Japanese-American community, saved an article about the torii project for many months before deciding she wanted to create a lasting legacy by helping to fund the torii.

The Stim Bullitt Parks Excellency Fund was established with bequest from Stim Bullitt to the Seattle Parks Foundation, which uses the fund to support community-led projects in Seattle parks each year.

We now have more than 80% funding, and the Friends expect to complete fundraising and start construction by this fall. Please help us close this gap:
Donate! here

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. 

Construction Drawings
In March geotechnical studies were conducted at the future torii site to help design the footings to support the new torii. After exploring different options for stone, we are currently completing construction drawings for the torii and ADA accessible pathway.

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
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

Support our project with a torii T-shirt

Declare your participation in building the torii with a winning T-shirt  from our kids'  T-shirt design contest: "I maked dis". You'll find the winning kid's haiku on the back.

Available in adult sizes: S, M, L, XL, 2XL, and youth sizes S, M , and LTo purchase your T-shirt, see our donation page or email

T-shirts and other merchandise can also be found at the Seward Park Audubon Center, 5902 Lake Washington Boulevard, Seattle 98118.  

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.

 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