5 Reasons the Garden Party is the 'Best Kept Secret' in Seattle

guests enjoying the Garden Party

Yukata-clad guests enjoy refreshments and a lovely view at the Garden Party. Photo: Jennifer Boyle.

Loyal attendees call Seattle Japanese Garden's benefit event, The Garden Party, "the best kept secret in Seattle."  It's indeed a magical evening that very few locals know about.  Here are the top 5 things about the Garden Party these in-the-know guests would rather keep to themselves.

1) There's no other time you can wine & dine inside the Japanese Garden--and the view is, well, spectacular.

Maintaining a pristine Japanese Garden is a labor of love.  It requires special care, much of which becomes costly, especially for a municipally-run facility.  One of the ways the gardeners keep the garden affordable to visit is by discouraging unwanted wildlife from making frequent visits scavenging for food.  Thus, dining in the garden is a once-a-year privilege exclusive to attendees.  On no other occasion can you sip wine and nibble on sushi as you look over the gorgeous koi pond and pretty maple trees.

2) The Japanese food and wine is top notch.  Truly a foodie and wine lover's delight.

Speaking of wine and sushi, how often are you at an event and served a 2013 Viognier from JM Cellars, a local winery which boasts 3 beautiful acres in Woodinville?  Or see fresh sushi and delectable, authentic side dishes at the buffet table made by the former house-chef of the Consul General of Japan?  Probably never.

3) The sake is made in such small batches, few people in Japan have even tasted them before.  We've got 8 kinds for you to try.  (And we haven't forgotten our beer lovers, either.)

Have you heard of the sake, NARUTOTAI Ginjo Nama Genshu, or a yuzu-infused TSUKASABOTAN Yamayuzushibori?  Doubtful, because these are made by artisanal sake producers in small towns in Japan.

Not to leave our beer-lovers out of the high-end experience, we're serving genuine Asahi Draft Beer imported from Japan (not Canada, where most North American Asahi beers come from.)

4) You'll experience an outdoor tea ceremony like ancient royalty--with a modern twist.

Japanese Gardens were historically places for royalty to stroll and enjoy.  Taking prepared matcha tea in the Chado tradition was very much part of the authentic experience.  You, too, can experience this at the Garden Party, as our classically trained and gorgeously kimono-clad tea instructors meticulously prepare perfectly frothed matcha for our guests enjoyment.

The nodate, as this style of tea ceremony is called in Japanese, will take place in our lush, shaded rhododendron glen, beside a trickling stream.  And just to up the wow factor of this experience, there'll be bamboo flute music floating in the air, thanks to strolling professional musician, Gary Stroutsos.

5) Tickets are extremely limited to preserve the serene, Zen atmosphere of the Japanese Garden.

No matter how exquisite the food, drink and music, if the crowds are huge, it takes away from the peaceful serenity of the Japanese Garden.  That's why, despite the garden being 3.4 acres wide, only the first 250 guests can get their hands on tickets to this event.

Want to become an insider to circle who know the "best kept secret in Seattle'?  The 2015 Garden Party is taking place on Friday, July 24, 6 p.m.  and a handful of tickets are still available at $75 per person, which includes all food, drink and entertainment.

Don't wait until it sells out! Click here to purchase tickets, and find out further details.

(Click on the images to see them in full size)

Rumi Tsuchihashi is the Stewardship and Events Coordinator at Seattle Japanese Garden, and the blog editor.