Come and experience the history and traditions of the original Japanese settlement in America. The Wakamatsu Farm in Placerville, CA, dates back to June 8, 1869, when the first Japanese immigrants fled their country during wartime to settle in America. Visit the farm to enjoy educational tours and special events. The archives of our region hold many interesting stories. Request access to our complimentary Vacation Guide so you can see what else there is to discover during your trip.
History of the Wakamatsu Farm
The colony is believed to be the first permanent Japanese settlement in North America and the only settlement by samurai outside of Japan. It consisted of 22 samurai and one woman who fled Wakamatsu, Japan, during the Boshin Civil War (1868-69). The group brought items from their country, such as silkworm cocoons, tea plants, bamboo shoots, and mulberry trees and used them to start the farm.
Things to Do at the Wakamatsu Farm
The Wakamatsu Farm is on Cold Springs Road in Placerville, CA, less than 10 minutes from Eden Vale Inn. It opened 30 years ago and offers scheduled public tours, private tours, as well as “open farm” days where you can explore portions of the 272-acre property. The American River Conservancy also hosts select events on the farm, including poetry workshops and origami classes. If you’re local, or visit often, you might consider volunteering at the farm for an even richer educational experience. The details are below.
What: Enjoy a two-hour hike of the Wakamatsu historical site and surrounding areas with a docent. $10 per adult.
When: Third Saturdays in the spring and fall.
What: Learn about the settlement and current conservation efforts during a private, docent-led tour. There is a minimum $100 charge for your group and a $50 deposit is required.
When: Year-round. You’ll need to schedule your tour at least two weeks in advance.
Open Farm Days
What: Explore the farm at your leisure. You could hike and bring a picnic to enjoy on the grounds. Plus, the farm interpreters are available to answer questions. The cost is $10 per vehicle. There is an extra fee for large vans and buses.
When: First Saturdays in the spring and fall.
Volunteer at Wakamatsu Farm
If you live in Placerville or come to visit often, you should take advantage of the opportunity to volunteer at the farm. If you love history or gardening, or just want to help preserve this California Historical Landmark, the property welcomes one-time volunteers as well as those who want to help on a regular basis, develop programs, and lead projects.
Volunteer opportunities offer you the ability to have exclusive access to the property, as well as be a part of:
- Interpretive tours and discussions
- Naturalist hikes and talks
- Organic produce and ornamental gardening
- Restoration projects
- Community outreach
- Educational field trips
Events at Wakamatsu Farm
The American River Conservancy organizes several educational events throughout the year at the Wakamatsu Farm. Visit the events page on their website for the latest information. Events include:
Capturing Wakamatsu – A Poetry Walk/Workshop: In this unique experience, an award-winning area poet leads an exploration of farmhouses, barns, and surroundings which provide inspiration for participants to then write poetry inspired by what they’ve seen. For those who would like to, they can share their poetry with the group.
KOI-Join the Fold – An Origami Class: Paper folding in ancient Japan involved handmade paper, which was a luxury item. The various designs for folding had strong links to ceremony and are a distinct part of Japanese culture and history. Michelle Greer leads this course. She learned the art from her stepfather, who practiced origami as a nod to his Japanese heritage.
Celebrating 150 Years
In 2019, the farm celebrated its 150th anniversary. It held Wakamatsu Festival 2019, a four-day event that attracted more than 4,000 visitors who enjoyed Japanese and Japanese-American food, as well as performances, art, music, cultural demonstrations, discussions, and more.
Places to Stay Near Wakamatsu Farm
Here at the Eden Vale Inn, we offer luxurious accommodations, top-notch amenities, and a picturesque setting. Each of our well-appointed rooms features an in-room fireplace, a private bathroom, and a private patio or balcony overlooking the gardens, pond, or Gold Country foothills.
Our Live Oak room is a wonderful option for a relaxing or romantic getaway. This room overlooks a serene garden setting and features a private deck and couple’s deep soaking tub for two. Check our availability and book your stay today. We can’t wait to welcome you!