Update on Shofuso’s Opening Date and Ongoing Projects

As the COVID-19 situation has evolved, the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia has decided to delay the opening of the Shofuso Japanese Cultural Center until further notice, dependent on updated standards. The health and safety of our visitors and staff is always our top priority, and so we are using this time to continue and complete a Shofuso pond restoration project and general house maintenance.

At Shofuso, we are taking this extra time before our season opening to extend an exciting pond restoration project. Head Gardener Sandi Polyakov is installing a black pebble beach around the boat landing and bridge, based on a winter consultation with Dr. Tomoki Kato, a leading historic landscape historian and practitioner from Kyoto, Japan.

This black pebble beach was part of the original 1957 landscape design for Shofuso’s garden by our landscape architect Tansai Sano and was typical of 17th-century Japanese gardens. Similar pebble beaches can be seen at Katsura Imperial Villa in Kyoto as well as at our sister Japanese garden at Pocantico Hills, the Rockefeller Estate in Tarrytown, NY. Even when Shofuso is closed, we are working to ensure the most accurate representation of our historic landscape and the best experiences for our visitors. Please consider a contribution to help us make Shofuso available for you and everyone. 

Site staff are also working to clean the house in preparation for our visitors. Following recommendations to work six feet apart and led by Shofuso Site Manager James Webster, staff have been sweeping, wiping, dusting, setting, and otherwise invigorating Shofuso for your visit this season. We work year-round to maintain Shofuso to make it available to the region, the nation, and the world and we appreciate your support.

We will evaluate this situation daily based on recommendations from the CDC and City of Philadelphia. We still plan on hosting most of our wonderful JapanPhilly2020 programming, as well as the Shofuso and Modernism: Mid-Century Collaboration between Japan and Philadelphia exhibition. Even with this delay, we know that 2020 will be our most-exciting year yet. We will continue to provide updates on our website as well as on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.

Our staff works year-round to produce the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival, manage Shofuso, and host many other programs, so please consider a contribution at this time which will ensure our work can continue uninterrupted. We are excited to welcome you to Shofuso this season.

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