After a busy work week most people just wanted to indulge in some weekend relaxation. And this weekend was a perfect opportunity for a new local adventure. It was very early yesterday morning that I decided to take a mini trip up to the famous Portland Japanese Garden in the West Hills outside of downtown Portland to enjoy some much needed zen. What I experienced at the gardens for two-and-a-half-hours can only be described through the power of visual imagery. Warning: seeing the next few images may cause a strong desire to get in a car or on a plane to Portland and enjoy the beauty of the Japanese Garden.
Opened in 1967, the Portland Japanese Garden serves as a three-way connection to Japanese culture, the city of Portland and Portland’s sister city of Sapporo, Japan.
The first thing one notices (if he or she happens to pick up a garden map at the main gate) is the entire place consists of five gardens: Strolling Pond Garden, Tea Garden, Natural Garden, Flat Garden (with the coolest koi fish pond around), and Sand and Stone Garden, all of which provide visitors the most relaxing, peaceful spots to reflect and meditate than any public park could even offer. Keep in mind there is an admission fee to enter the Japanese Garden but the cost is absolutely worth it.
What makes the Portland Japanese Garden stand out from the rest is the worldwide recognition it has received in the years before – especially from Japan. According to the Portland Japanese Garden’s official website, 1988 was the year when His Excellency Nobuo Matsunaga, Ambassador from Japan to the United States, paid a visit to the gardens. Awestruck by what he saw, Mr. Matsunaga declared the Portland Japanese Garden as “the most beautiful and authentic Japanese garden in the world outside of Japan.” And from what I saw yesterday I could not agree more with Mr. Matsunaga’s statement.
Anyone who has lived in Oregon – especially the Portland Metro area – knows how stunningly beautiful the Japanese Garden is. It’s a garden that’s been treasured by the locals for years, and there’s no other Japanese Garden in the United States that compares. If your travel plans to Portland include a peaceful walk in a park, I highly recommend the Portland Japanese Garden. You won’t regret the experience!