Wabi-sabi is a Japanese aesthetic that appreciates the beauty of things that are imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.


It is an appreciation for the beauty in things that are manmade that are humble, modest, unique, and unusual.


Wabi-sabi are manmade objects, spaces or designs that:

  • Are earthy, imperfect, and are irregular and variable in their form 

  • Do not have decoration that is not integral to the structure and don't specifically represent an object in the world

Why is it interesting?

Wabi-sabi is a way of looking at the universe by acknowledging that things are always coming from or going to nothingness. By having a wabi-sabi mindset, you can accept that all things are:

  • Incomplete

  • Imperfect

  • Impermanent

experience IT!

What you need:

You only need any open mind, but you can have pen and paper ready if you feel inspired to write a note, sketch a drawing, or write a poem.


Steps to experiencing wabi-sabi:

  1. Find a quiet place where you can sit and observe the things around you.

  2. Look for what makes things stand out as being different or irregular. For instance, you might see:
    • A weed growing out of a crack in the sidewalk
    • A cup with a crack in it

  3. Rather than seeing these as bad imperfections, consider ways to appreciate them. For instance:
    • The weed shows the resilience of nature to survive even in challenging places
    • The crack shows a cup that's provided a drink for someone thirsty

  4. With this mindset, you can see that beauty surrounds you. You need only take the time to look for it.

  5. See how many wabi-sabi objects you can discover around you. Challenge someone you live with to see how many wabi-sabi they can identify.


  • "Wabi-sabi" is a fun word to say. See how many people know what it means.

  • Send us a photo of your favorite wabi-sabi discovery to include in our gallery.

Dedicated to Barbara Finney

For projects for younger kids, look for Nigel the koala. 

BIG hint! You'll find Nigel in What's different? • Play portal • We Puzzle Together for Tots

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