Torrii gates in the Japanese Pioneer Memorial Garden

Two torii, traditional Japanese gates that symbolically mark the transition from the daily to the sacred, stand in the Tahoma Cemetery as part of ongoing plans for a Japanese Pioneer Memorial Garden.

Donors have contributed more than 75 percent of a $100,000 goal to construct a Japanese Pioneer Memorial Garden in Tahoma Cemetery, according to an announcement from the president of the Wapato Buddhist Church.

The garden, a joint project of the Yakima Valley Japanese Bochi Association and the Yakima Buddhist Church, will be a circular viewing area near 200 graves purchased by the Association.

Lon Inaba, president of the Yakima Buddhist Church, said in his annual report that Yamamoto Landscaping has completed the design and a scale model of the garden site. A concrete curb and asphalt drives now lead to the garden, and work on the teahouse is underway.

Inaba Farm crews installed two torii — traditional Japanese gates often found at the entrance to shrines, which symbolically mark the transition from the daily to the sacred, and made by master carpenter Ike Simonian. The crews also collected several mossy boulders donated for the site.

Crews stockpiled more than 100 buckets of river rock from about 20 Japanese pioneer farms for the site’s design. Sponsors also have donated four granite benches.

“We have begun to engrave the granite tiles with pioneer names,” Inaba said, along with donors and camp family members. “Many thanks to the committee and numerous other people who have donated time and money to advance and promote our project.”

Inaba said all progress on the garden, up to tile engraving, came from in-kind labor and material donations, allowing the organizations to reserve more money for their perpetual maintenance fund.

Donated time, designs, and supplies for the project have come from Two Bar A Ranch, L & B Rock, Lyden Precast, Robert Rasmussen, the Yakima City Parks, Perry Technical Institute and Pacific Steel, among others.

The organizations are continuing to accept donations for the completion of the project.

Reach Lex Talamo at or on Twitter: @LexTalamo.