Philadelphia boasts one of the best — and most often overlooked — traditional Japanese gardens in North America.
Near the banks of the Schuylkill River lie a garden house and grounds that exemplify centuries-old Japanese design. It may come as no surprise that the house was not originally built in Philadelphia—though it was built 80 years after the first Japanese garden arrived in the area! Shofuso Japanese House and Garden stands today in Fairmount Park, on a portion of land adjacent to the first Japanese garden built in America (for the 1876 World’s Fair). The grounds subsequently hosted a 14th-century Japanese Buddhist temple gate, which had been exhibited at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis before moving to Philly in 1905.