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Opening Day First Viewing celebrates the initial day of the 2014 season on Saturday at Seattle Japanese Garden in Washington Park Arboretum.

The 3.5-acre formal garden, created in 1960 with Shinto, Buddhist and Tao traditions, is designed for quiet reflection in all seasons, with unique, carefully maintained plants, trees, water, bridges and waterfalls.

First Viewing includes a Shinto blessing for the 2014 season and initial look at the newly improved pond habitat, the first phase of a restoration project for the well-being of the garden’s popular, colorful koi. A few early blooms and “A Celebration of Spring” exhibit of photos from a 2013 spring photographers’ workshop give a look ahead to the garden’s April and May peak season of blooming cherry trees, azaleas, rhododendrons and wisteria.

Regular hours starting Saturday are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays, with daily opening and longer hours start March 31. Periodic special events through November include weekend public tours, photography events and Shoseian Teahouse ceremonies beginning in April, and Kodomo no Hi (Children’s Day) in May.

This week, save 90% on digital access.

Annual Garden passes are available for individuals, families and students, with a special photographer membership that includes monthly members-only photo sessions and special events highlighting Spring and Fall seasonal color.

Seattle Japanese Garden has ADA access paths, though the stone bridges, steppingstones and gravel paths characteristic of authentic Japanese landscaping make some areas of the garden inaccessible to visitors with physical limitations.

Picnics, tripods and pets are not allowed.

Seasonal highlights in the surrounding Washington Park Arboretum include blooming hellebores, dogwood, witch hazel, heather and the beginning of the season for camellia, flowering cherry, rhododendrons and forsythia. Weekly walks highlight seasonal interest and docent guides’ favorite plants at 1 p.m. Sundays through March, starting at Graham Visitor Center.

Madeline Mckenzie:

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