Cherry Blossoms Shofoso Japanese House PhiladelphiaI love visiting places that make you feel transported. Shofuso, hidden away in Fairmount Park, is one of those places. As you wander through the house and gardens, you can almost believe you are in Japan.  Summer and fall are beautiful at Shofuso, but spring is the most beautiful time to visit – especially if you can catch the cherry blossoms.

The gardens date from the Centennial Exposition of 1876. The house, which was originally displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, was built in Japan in 1953 using traditional techniques and materials.

Tobey says: A beautiful place to take photographs!

Tips: Shoes are not allowed in the houses, so bring a pair of socks. Also, there is no picnicking inside the gates, but there are plenty of beautiful spots outside overlooking the grounds.  Shofuso is closed during the winter, but you can always take photos from outside the wall.

Extras: Special programs for kids and families are offered the first Sunday of every month and they also run traditional tea ceremonies monthly for teens/adults.

Field Trips: They do terrific field trips for all ages and are very accommodating.  We’ve done programs for younger kids (Japanese story telling, origami folding and feeding the koi) during a study of Asian cultures and also the tea ceremony with middle/high-school students.  The staff are super accommodating – they even let our students paint in the gardens after our tour.