The Portland Japanese Garden: Where nature and ambiance meet

 

Portland’s Japanese Garden is on the top of my list for my next trip out West.  I’ve heard from friends about it and I can see why!   The landscaping is beautifully choreographed for the perfect visit!  It’s specifically designed to bring a sense of stillness, harmony and meditation.  My friend Kim Vu is one of those who photographed the gardens and highly recomended it to me.  Kim shot the first two images below.

Photo by Kim Vu

Photo by Kim Vu

This garden was designed by Takuma Tono in 1962 on the very site of what was the Washington Park Zoo.  According to The Portland Japaense Garden, “Three of the essential elements used to create a Japanese garden are stone, the “bones” of the landscape; water, the life-giving force; and plants, the tapestry of the four seasons.” Takuma Tono uses them all in with perfect Japanese authenticity.  In fact The Portland Japanese Garden is considered the most authentic Japanese garden outside of Japan in the world.

Photo by Kim Vu

Photo by Kim Vu

The garden explains the context of Tono’s designs of stone, water and flora, “Japanese garden designers, feel that good stone composition is one of the most important elements in creating a well-designed garden. Secondary elements include pagodas, stone lanterns, water basins, arbors, and bridges. Japanese gardens are asymmetrical in design and reflect nature in idealized form. Traditionally, human scale is maintained throughout so that one always feels part of the environment, not overpowered by it.”  The Garden is actually five gardens within the  intimate space of only 5.5 acres.

Flat Garden.  Photo by David M Cobb

Flat Garden. Photo by David M Cobb courtesy of The Portland Japanese Garden

Here in the Flat Garden the gravel is raked to look like water.  The azaleas and trees are pruned to represent broader more iconic landscape elements.  The garden explains, it is to be appreaciated as a, “landscape painting—perhaps a view of a shoreline across the water of the raked gravel plane. Mountains and hills are depicted in the rounded shapes of the azalea shrubs.”

The Weeping Cherry Tree in the Flat Garden.  Photo by Allan Bruce Zee

The Weeping Cherry Tree in the Flat Garden. Photo by Allan Bruce Zee courtesy of The Portland Japanese Garden

The Strolling Pond Garden includes an array of  azaleas and  japanese maples around its two ponds.

The Strolling Garden bridge.  Photo by Allan Bruce Zee

The Strolling Garden bridge. Photo by Allan Bruce Zee courtesy of The Portland Japanese Garden

The garden is aesthetically punctuated by an authentic Japanse Bridge.

The Strolling gardne's Bridge.  Photo by David M Cobb

The Strolling gardne's Bridge. Photo by David M Cobb courtesy of The Portland Japanese Garden

Another great photographer and friend of mine, Carl Samrock went with his wife to visit the garden and loved it.  He took this photo below.

The Portland Japanese Garden by Carl Samrock

The Portland Japanese Garden. Photo by Carl Samrock

This strolling garden is also home to the picturesque Heavenly Falls.

Heavenly Falls.  Photo by David M Cobb

Heavenly Falls. Photo by David M Cobb courtesy of The Portland Japanese Garden

The Sand and Stone Garden seen below is a karesansui garden incorporating an ethereal white gravel with seven stones evoking tiger cubs facing toward the central stone representing Buddha.

The Sand and Stone Garden.  Photo by David M Cobb

The Sand and Stone Garden. Photo by David M Cobb courtesy of The Portland Japanese Garden

The Natural Garden (previously known as the Hillside Garden) was initially a moss garden.  It is now an informal setting providing the lush plumage of a the natural landscape.

Natural Garden Azaleas.  Photo by David M Cobb

Natural Garden Azaleas. Photo by David M Cobb courtesy of The Portland Japanese Garden

The Tea Garden consists of an authentic tea house that was manufactured in Japan and then shipped stateside.  In the summer, visitors can observe a traditional Japanse Tea Ceremony.

The Tea House in the Tea Garden.  Photo by David M Cobb

The Tea House in the Tea Garden. Photo by David M Cobb courtesy of The Portland Japanese Garden

It is no suprise that more than 200,00 people a year visit here from around the world.  The Portland Japanse Garden has an ambiance all its own.  As a photographer, I can’t wait to go there myself!  The big question will be during which season?  Each offers their own ambiance.  I hear Winter here is a must see!

Strolling Garden. Photo by Laura Davidson

Strolling Garden. Photo by Laura Davidson courtesy of The Portland Japanese Garden

The garden is located in the west hills of Portland, Oregon, directly above the Rose Gardens in Washington Park.  For more information visit http://www.japanesegarden.com If anyone gets a chance to see this place in the winter let me know.  I’d love to hear about it!

Finding great gardens is a passion of mine.  If you know of any, please feel free to share them with eveyone on The Bee’s “Suggest a Garden” page.

‘Til Tomorrow…

Britt : )

Related posts:

  1. The Huntington’s Japanese Garden in San Marino, California.
  2. Part II: Maymont’s Japanese Garden.
  3. Part VII: The Japanese Style Garden at Brookside Gardens.
  4. At Denver Botanic Gardens it’s all about ambiance
  5. Here at Missouri Botanical Garden beauty doesn’t fall away just because the snow has fallen

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