Yume Japanese Gardens is the living expression of an ancient Japanese heritage. Covering three quarters of an acre in central Tucson, Arizona, it comprises five traditional visions of landscape. In each, nature is balanced by the human hand to render the spare elegance and subtle spirit of an authentic Japanese garden.

Yume means “dream” in Japanese, and as in a dream, our gardens conduct you through metaphors that summon the creative force of centuries of Japanese culture. Two intimate courtyard gardens reveal classical Japanese imagery as you would glimpse it through the sliding shoji screen doors of a private home. A dry landscape garden for Zen meditation, a stone and gravel garden representing sea and islands, a sinuous dry river garden, and a tranquil strolling pond garden reflect other trends in Japanese landscaping that have emerged over the past 1,000 years. Each serene garden is a place to be at one with nature and with yourself.

NAJGA Member

Member NAJGA

As a cultural meeting point, Yume maintains a museum with permanent and temporary exhibits of beautiful Japanese art and handicrafts, a gift shop with beguiling objects of beauty and utility imported from Japan and absorbing books about its people and folkways, and an art gallery in which photography, paintings, ceramics, sculpture, costumes, and Ikebana flower arrangements alternate to acquaint you with rich layers of Japanese spirit and custom. Throughout the year, we present classes and workshops in Japanese calligraphy, flower arranging, origami and other popular arts. We also hold tea ceremonies, traditional seasonal festivals, and performances of treasured Japanese music, song, plays, and dance.

We further offer an innovative and research-supported Stroll for Well-Being therapeutic garden walking program. It has proved transformative for people suffering emotional distress caused by illness, trauma, and other painful life events. Participants report reduced feelings of sadness, hopelessness, fear, and loneliness and a deeper sense of happiness and joy at the end of the program.

Yume opened as a non-profit organization in January, 2013, and thus one of the first things to catch the eye about it is its newness. Trees and plants are young. Stones, lanterns, and water basins have yet to acquire the patina of age. Yet the Gardens are maturing. Plantings are slowly adapting to the hot and dry climate of the desert Southwest. Meticulously pruned trees and shrubs are growing into their natural forms in a way to create space, harmony, and movement. The clay walls and wooden posts and shingles of viewing pavilions and a replica Japanese cottage built to time-honored designs are slowly weathering. Sand and gravel assume new patterns each time they are raked.

You will find yourself in a gently evolving environment of healing nature and Japanese refinement each time you step into Yume. Welcome!

2014 Annual Report