Welcome to The Japanese Garden

The Japanese Garden – This Japanese-style Garden was designed by Hisaichi Tsugawa and built principally by members of the Japanese-American community of Oakland and the East Bay. It was dedicated in 1960.

Since 1985 the Merritt College Aesthetic Pruning Club has been responsible for the restoration and maintenance of this garden, in cooperation with the City […]

Completed Japanese Garden Fence and Gates Dedicated with Blessings and Chimes


Dick Austin, President Friends of the Gardens at Lake Merritt; Dennis Makishima, founder aesthetic pruning classes; Reverend Taniguichi; Bill Castellon, President Friends of the Japanese Garden; and Jay van Arsdale, artist.

Reverend Taniguchi sounded a bell chime, fluttered flower petals and  encouraged people to know this garden as a place of peace.

The voice of Reverend Zuikei […]

New Japanese Garden Fence 1,000 Years Old

Carpenters in the Japanese (Daiku Dojo) tradition are true artists. Their joinery techniques and soulful appreciation of woods make them special within their craft, which has been honed and perfected over more than a millennium. The technique uses no power tools. […]

. . .Buzzed Like An Orchestra of Goodness

“Across the Bay, I discovered a hidden gem in the Gardens at Lake Merritt, in Oakland. I was greeted with soothing sounds from a koi pond fountain and a lush green backdrop of colorful flowers and soaring trees. Beyond the green oasis, sounds of rakes, hand shovels and conversation buzzed like an orchestra of goodness. […]

Japanese Garden Fence Update

Jay van Arsdale and his students began

this phase of the project March 22 and

it looks like this a week later.

Japanese Garden Fence Update

This phase of The Fence and Gate Project is made possible by a grant from the the Creative Work Fund, a program of the Walter and Elise Haas Fund supported by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and The James Irvine Foundation.  It is a collaboration between wood working artist Jay van Arsdale, Friends of the Japanese Garden (Bill Castellon, president) and Friends of Oakland Parks and Recreation.


Japanese Garden Fence Installation Begins

Recently the Friends of the Japanese Garden and Jay van Arsdale, woodworking artist, were awarded a grant to replace the fence surrounding the garden. Van Arsdale’s Laney College students have been working on the project in their class/shop and some fence post holes were dug yesterday. On Tuesday, Dec 1, the installation will […]

Japanese Garden Gate Construction Begins

On Friday Sept 25 Jay van Arsdale (left), wood working artist, and Bill Castellon (right), president of Friends of the Japanese Garden, met in the garden to finalize plans for the first section of fence to be replaced. The work, which will be done as a result of the grant from the Creative Work […]

Grant Awarded to Construct New Fence Around Japanese Garden

The Creative Work Fund has awarded a grant of $30,000 to construct a new fence around the Lake Merritt Japanese Garden. These awards are made to Bay Area artists and nonprofit organization for collaborations. In this case the collaboration is between artist Jay van Arsdale who teaches joinery at Laney College and Friends […]