The 1,000 Cranes, 1,000 Dreams Project

Yume has launched a signal community project to provide hope and healing to hearts frayed by the coronavirus. It’s called 1,000 Cranes, 1,000 Dreams.

The project takes its name from the meaning of Yume in English – “dream” – and from the graceful and elegant Japanese crane, said in fable to live for 1,000 years.

Fruit of its mythically long life, the Japanese crane enjoys hope in a happy future. Our mission is to instill a similar healing confidence in all who participate in 1,000 Cranes, 1,000 Dreams. Our means to achieve this lies in the Japanese tradition of Senbazuru, according to which those who devote time and effort to make origami cranes see their most heartfelt wishes granted.  

We invite you to join 1,000 Cranes, 1,000 Dreams, to shrink the darkness of disaster and brighten the light of your well-being.

To take part, we ask that you and as many of your family members and friends as you may persuade each make at least one origami crane and contribute it to Yume. This is not an amusement to distract you from a perilous pandemic. Rather, it’s a profound act of love and generosity toward others, and of authentic care for yourself. You’ll find that participation in a meaningful collective creative achievement opens an avenue to personal restoration for you.

Link here for video instructions on how to make your crane:

Birds made of any paper without images can be mailed to the Gardens at 2130 N. Alvernon Way, Tucson, AZ, 85712, or dropped in a box inside the parking lot gate.

When Yume reopens – we’re temporarily closed in the interest of public health – your origami birds will be displayed with hundreds more all across the Gardens. You’ll see cranes fluttering in our wisteria and pines, perching on boulders, flocking on bamboo gates and fences, and flying from stone lanterns to stone water basins. 

More about Senbazuru and the Japanese crane

Strings of origami cranes are often hung in Japanese temples and shrines. Offered to friends, a collection of cranes implies a wish for their prosperity and good health, and given to newlyweds, it expresses desire for their lasting happiness. Because the Japanese crane mates for life and guards its nest with especial vigilance, it symbolizes conjugal devotion and fidelity, as well as protectiveness of family. This has won it wide use in Japan as a decorative motif on wedding kimonos and nuptial sweets.

Feathered mainly in snow-white plumage and with a red crown, Japan’s native crane likewise incarnates purity and beauty. Able to balance perfectly on one leg and yet react with lightning agility to snare a frog or fish or escape danger, it similarly models emotional control and vital energy, qualities that made it a common crest on warriors’ helmets in the age of samurai, who saw in the bird inspiration for loyalty, honor and strength. And with a nearly six-foot-long span of strong and sheltering wings, in Buddhist circles the Japanese crane figures as a protector of the weak and transporter of souls to the highest levels of enlightenment.

Lastly, the Japanese crane is a disciplined, powerful flyer, and in flocks it wheels across the sky as member of a purposively moving community of supportive and loyal companions. What better bird could there be to embody the nature of 1,000 Cranes, 1,000 Dreams? Join us, and find wings of your own to loft you to hope and healing.


Puppet Show: “Little One-Inch”

Tiny though you be, you can still realize big dreams, including finding lasting love. So learns Issun-bōshi, diminutive hero of the charming Japanese fairytale “Little One-Inch.” 

As his name indicates, Little One-Inch’s stature is minature. But his adventures are grand, and so is his eventual bliss: he plies a rice bowl as a boat and uses a chopstick as an oar, wields a needle to valiantly defend a lovely princess against a huge ogre, and wins her grateful heart and hand in a happily-ever-after marriage.

Visit Yume at 1:00 pm on Saturday, April 4 and enjoy a puppet show about Little One-Inch staged by The Red Herring Puppets. Lisa Sturz, artistic director of the company, is an Emmy award-winning puppeteer who has worked with Walt Disney Imagineering, PBS, NBC, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. With her fellow puppeteers, she brings this centuries-old Japanese coming-of-age story to memorable, colorful life.

Seating for this special event is limited. Show tickets cost $12 for adults and $10 for children ages three to 15. They must be purchased in advance, are non-refundable, and do not include admission to the Gardens. Entry to our grounds, museum, and art gallery is free for members of Yume; non-members will be charged a separate general admission fee, payable at the door.

Event parking is available in the lot inside our main gate on 2130 North Alvernon Way and on East Justin Lane, one half block south of the Gardens. Please DO NOT park on East Hampton Place, immediately north of Yume.


“Poetry Stones” A Butoh Performance

The avant-garde performance art called Butō, or butoh, is a product of the tumultuous post-war Japanese experience. Blending theater, improvisation, German Expressionist dance, and traditional Japanese performing arts, it inspires performers and spectators alike to examine their unconscious ideas, emotions, and energies.

Join us from 6:30 to 8:30 pm on Saturday, April 4 for “Poetry Stones.”  This exploration of form, movement, and spirit is presented by Tucson’s Funhouse Movement Theater and features Japanese-trained visiting artist Joan Laage, who has performed in butoh works from Europe to the Pacific Northwest.

In “Poetry Stones,” you’ll find butoh dancers and musicians dispersed throughout Yume, engaged in compelling, improvisational communion with the sights, sounds, and sensations of the Gardens at twilight. Prepare to be moved.

Tickets for this event cost $18 for members of Yume Japanese Gardens and $25 for non-members and are non-refundable.

Parking is available for this event in the lot inside our main gate at 2130 North Alvernon Way, in the Tucson Botanical Gardens’ parking lot, a block north of the Gardens, and on East Justin Lane, one half block south of the Gardens. Please DO NOT park on East Hampton Place, immediately north of Yume.


Haiku Writing Walk

Yume is pleased to announce a Haiku Writing Walk with award-winning haikuists Yukihiro Ibuki and Danny Bland.

The walk provides a memorable opportunity to observe, collect, and reflect upon perceptions and images of nature and life. These in turn furnish elements for the creation and appreciation of haiku, the iconic Japanese short poem.

This two-hour workshop opens with several classic haiku read in English and Japanese, followed by an introduction to the history, structure, and characteristics of this genre of composition that first became widely popular in Japan in the 1600s. In the centuries since, it has achieved global renown as a sublime and quintessentially Japanese poetic form.

Walking thereafter through the grounds of Yume, we will pause during our stroll to read haiku placed in various locations, allowing time also for participants to gather personal images and thoughts and to compose their own haiku. Afterwards we’ll informally share and enjoy our impressions and poems.

Yukihiro Ibuki was born in Kyoto, Japan and has composed traditional haiku since high school. A member of the “Kyo-kanoko” haiku association, he has written poems honored as Outstanding Haiku at the Arizona Matsuri Haiku Expo in 2016, 2017, and 2018.

Danny Bland is a novelist, rock band road manager, and author of two volumes of poetry composed in the haiku form but distinctly untraditional in flavor: “I Apologize In Advance For The Awful Things I’m Gonna Do” and “We Shouldn’t Be Doing This.” You can read a new haiku every day on his Facebook page.

Date: Friday, March 13

Time: 1 pm – 3pm

Cost: $25 ($18 for students; please call Yume at 520-303-3945 for details.)

Space is limited. Click here to buy your ticket or call Yume to reserve your spot.


Spring Ikebana Floral Festival

Enjoy the beauty of dozens of signature floral compositions highlighting the wide breadth of flower arrangement styles in one of Japan’s most cherished art forms, during our Spring 2020 Ikebana Floral Festival.

As we do each year, we open the Gardens to the talented adepts of five different schools of Ikebana practice. The result: elegant floral displays throughout our grounds and buildings that reflect the harmony, discipline, and refinement of traditional Japanese flower arranging.

The festival runs from Thursday, February 20 through Saturday, February 29. Admission is $10 for members of Yume. Admission for non-members is $15 for adults and $5 for children ages three to 15, and includes entry to the entire Gardens, our Museum, and our Art Gallery.

Be sure to combine your visit with a walk through our permanent display of selections from our collection of more than 200 Ikebana vases and vessels – the largest in the nation. Made of ceramics, bamboo, bronze, lacquer, clay, and glass, some are more than a century old, others are contemporary; all are carefully designed to complement the Zen-like spirit of the flower arrangements they hold.

Festival parking is available in the lot inside our main gate on North Alvernon Way and on East Justin Lane, one half block south of the Gardens. Please DO NOT park on East Hampton Place, immediately north of Yume.


Artist Reception: “Spirit of the Land – Paintings by Emily King”

“Spirit of the Land” opens in the Art Gallery on February 7, 2020, with a reception for artist Emily King from 5 to 7 pm. Because the reception is being held after business hours, Yume’s gardens and museum will NOT be open to visitors at that time.

In her work, King explores the concept of tamashii – the way that Japanese culture is moved by the spirit of a place, a sight, or a being, enabling glimpses of life through moments of wonder and awe. At times realistic, at times dreamlike, her pieces capture the world of the soul as well as the mind.

The show runs until May 1, and all paintings in the gallery are for sale.


Girl’s Day Doll Exhibit

Japanese parents cherish their pre-teen daughters and hail their health and happiness with displays of small dolls – hina – every March 3. Ornamental only and not for play, they represent the enthroned Emperor and Empress and their attendants, garbed in the sumptuous court robes of 1,000 years ago.

These elaborate miniatures are the hallmark of Hinamatsuri, the Girl’s Day Festival. Most often arrayed on multi-tiered stands draped in red cloth, they are many times family heirlooms.

As part of the festival, girls hold parties with friends and enjoy traditional foods such as eaten by Japan’s ancient rulers and nobles. Superstition says the dolls must be stored the day after the celebration: leaving them too long on show may result in a girl’s eventual marriage being delayed. Doll displays usually end after a girl turns 10; a family will then stow away its set of hina treasure-like, awaiting the day when it can be passed down to a little girl grown into a woman with daughters of her own to honor.

Our doll set is a vintage one, more than a century old. Its Emperor and Empress have gazed regally upon multiple generations of young girls. You can gaze back, in admiration of their meticulously detailed costumes and their many retainers, on view in all their finery from February 1 to March 5.