First established as a Japanese-style landscape for the 1876 Centennial Exposition, the current garden was designed by Sano Tansai in 1958 when the authentic shoin-style Japanese house was moved here from New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
For Philadelphia’s 1976 Bicentennial celebration, the garden was extensively renovated by Nakajima Kenji in the authentic Momoyama style of early 17th-century Japan.
As a legacy project for Shofuso’s 60th anniversary in fall of 2018, representatives from the Sorakuen Garden in Kobe, Japan spent nine days at Shofuso working on improvements to the garden.
Added in 2021, the pebble beach along the central pond is based on 1957 drawings for the property and draws inspiration from the shoreline along Kyoto’s Kamo River.
Shofuso Japanese Cultural Center invites the public to special annual events, festivals and tea ceremonies held throughout the year.