April 29 through May 6, 2016
In the fall of 2015, a delegation from Shizuoka, Japan visited the garden to see the Sunpu Castle Gate, Mt. Fuji, and the site of Omaha’s future Japanese garden. This visit was in celebration of 50 years of solidarity between Omaha and Shizuoka, recognizing the global friendship and cultural exchange that has enhanced both Sister Cities. As a result of this relationship, many gifts have been exchanged between the two cities, including many that are stewarded by Lauritzen Gardens. During their visit to Omaha, Mayor Zenkichi Kojima and other city officials from Shizuoka presented Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert with a rendering of a “Sunpu Chaya” a gift to the people of Omaha in celebration of fifty years of friendship.
The Sunpu Chaya will be a small, free-standing, roofed structure similar to a waiting room or gazebo. It will be a wooden building with openings for a relaxing view of the Sunpu Castle Gate and Mt. Fuji Replica, the surrounding pathways, trees and green spaces of the Japanese Park & Garden area at Lauritzen Gardens. In Japan, a similar structure is a space that one waits until they are summoned by their hosts into a tea house for a Japanese tea ceremony, or the Way of Tea. It is thought of as a refuge for peaceful contemplation before entering the tea house. The Sunpu Chaya will be a place for quiet reflection on the beauty of nature and the art of living in harmony with one another and with all things.
Craftsmen from Shizuoka and Omaha will work together to build the structure. Hinoki Cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa) lumber will be cut to size, then shipped from Japan to Nebraska. The structure will then be assembled on site at Lauritzen Gardens from April 29 through May 5 for the enjoyment of garden guests. Regular garden admission applies.
The Sunpu Chaya will be dedicated on Friday, May 6 at 4 p.m. Because this is National Public Gardens Day, admission will be free to all who wish to attend.
Special cultural activities at the Japanese Park
1:30 to 2:30 p.m. (while supplies last) Sample a special type of tea from Shizuoka, Japan
1:30 to 2:15 p.m. Tatami making demonstrations
2 to 2:30 p.m. Traditional Japanese carpentry demonstrations
2:30 to 2:45 p.m. Traditional Kendo martial arts demonstrations
3 to 3:30 p.m. Traditional taiko drumming demonstrations
4 p.m. Ceremonial dedication of the Sunpu Chaya
This project is supported by: Lauritzen Gardens, the Douglas County Visitor Improvement Fund, the city of Shizuoka, Japan, Omaha Sister Cities Association and the OSCA Shizuoka Council Committee.
For a video on the Sunpu Chaya project, click here
For more information on Shizuoka, Japan, click here
For more information on the Omaha Sister Cities Association, click here
The Omaha Sister Cities Association (OSCA) is an all-volunteer, nonprofit 501(c)3 organization promoting citizen diplomacy between Omaha and six sister cities located in Europe, Asia and Latin America. We enhance our community’s global awareness through cultural, educational, humanitarian and economic development connections. The organization also brings like-minded people from our sister cities to Omaha to develop cross-cultural relationships with our citizens through youth exchanges, family homestay and cultural events.