The History of the Garden

The Garden of the Phoenix traces its origins back to Japan’s participation at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition.  Guided by Daniel Burnham, chief of construction, and Frederick Law Olmsted, chief of landscape, the Japanese government was permitted to build the Ho-o-den (Phoenix Pavilion) at the north end of the 15-acre Wooded Island located at the center of the Exposition.

The Phoenix Pavilion was designed to showcase for the first time in America the greatest achievements of Japan’s artistic heritage.  For the millions of visitors to the exposition during its six-month run beginning May 1, 1893, the pavilion – and the canon of Japanese art that it contained – would begin to transform the world’s understanding and appreciation of Japan and its people.

At the close of the Exposition, the Phoenix Pavilion was gifted by Japan to the City of Chicago to serve not only as a symbol of the relationship between Japan and the United States, but to be a place for future generations to continue to learn about Japan and experience Japanese culture.

To learn more, download "The Garden of the Phoenix: The 120 Year Anniversary of the Japanese Garden in Chicago," and subscribe to the website.