Hakone Estate and Gardens' Centennial festivities continue with the upcoming April 30 debut of the latest exhibit, “Hakone Centennial: The Tilden Era.” The exhibit features photographs and artifacts from 1932-1961, the time frame Major Charles Lee Tilden owned and operated Hakone as a private retreat. He purchased it from the original owners, the Stine Family, who created the estate and gardens from 1915-1917. Major Tilden hired Japanese landscape gardener James Sasaki to make improvements to the gardens and build several additional structures such as the Mon (main gate), upper pavilion, and wisteria arbor.

For this second year of Hakone's Centennial celebration in 2016, Hakone Foundation proudly presents an exhibition of the Tilden Era, on display now through spring 2017. At the Cultural Exchange Center, this exhibit of photographs and memorabilia tells the story of how Major Charles Lee Tilden and his heirs lovingly maintained and enhanced Hakone gardens.  Learn about this fascinating time in Hakone's and California's history during this special exhibit, including how Sasaki served the gardens for 30 years – except the three-and-a-half years he and his family were sent to a relocation camp during WWII. Learn how the Tilden family protected the gardens during an era when many Japanese gardens were defaced or destroyed.  The Tilden era, the longest of private ownerships, made the lasting  impact on Hakone.  With the  vision of Charles L. Tilden and the dedication of James Sasaki, this era of ownership gave Hakone the enduring and exquisite beauty of a Japanese garden estate we enjoy today.