Japanese History in Denver

During World War II, racism toward Japanese-Americans, was quite high in the United States. Internment camps were developed all over the country and held Japanese born American’s, a despicable part of American history. During the war, Colorado Governor Ralph L. Carr was the only publicly elected official to apologize, which ingratiated Colorado to the Japanese American community. Denver has received many generous gifts from Japan, and from it’s citizens of Japanese descent. Today Ben and I took the day to appreciate the Japanese influence in Denver.

A large portion of the botanic gardens in Denver were developed by Koichi Kawana, a Hokkaido born gardener. He adapted the principles of Japanese gardens to the dry lands of Colorado, it is a spectacular landscape, and his understanding of Japanese gardens, and Colorado is a pleasure to behold. It was exciting to see the plants I grew up with masterfully crafted by Japanese gardening techniques. I truly enjoyed this Japanese Garden here in Colorado.

There was a Japanese Tea house where you can pay to learn the art of a Japanese tea ceremony in the botanical gardens. Ben and I chose to not to pay, but heard that it was a lovely and authentic experience. There was a small bonsai exhibit, which I really enjoyed. The range of tree types was impressive, but my favorite’s were the twisted Ponderosas.

Sakura Square is Denver’s very own Japan town. It is very small but worth the trip for Ben and I because of the Japanese grocery they have there. Ben and I were giddy as we found all the ingredients we needed for our favorite foods. We didn’t need much as there is a Vietnamese market in Boulder that carried most of what we needed, but we had not yet found okonomiyaki sauce, good natto, or Kewpie Mayo.

Denver Botanic Gardens

Sakura Square

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