Finding Serenity in the Japanese Garden of Portland, Oregon

Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon

Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR
Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR | Source

Japanese Garden

The Japanese Garden of Portland, Oregon can be found in Washington Park and if one wishes to find serenity, this beautifully designed garden will provide the perfect place.

Vacationing one summer with my mother and niece, we had hoped to escape some of Houston's summer heat. So we planned a trip to Oregon which is in the Northwest part of the United States thinking that we would enjoy some cooler temperatures for our two week stay.

Alas!...a headline in The Oregonian which is the Portland, Oregon's newspaper read the following on August 4, 1987: "August sun roasts Oregonians..."

Despite some record breaking heat we started our sightseeing and were delighted to find the soothing and restful grounds of Portland's Japanese Garden.

Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon

Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon
Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon | Source

Strolling Pond Garden



Even if the day was hotter than normal, walking through a garden filled with design elements including (but not limited to) artistically placed rocks, plants and trees of varying heights and color hues, shimmering fish in the tranquil ponds of water and other discoveries, it engaged us in something so enjoyable that the heat was almost forgotten.


There are five distinct garden styles within the Japanese Garden and the Strolling Pond Garden is one that is aptly named.


Portland, Oregon Japanese Garden

Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR - Strolling Pond Garden
Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR - Strolling Pond Garden | Source
Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR
Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR | Source

The bridge pictured in these first three photos in the Strolling Pond Garden is called The Moon Bridge and was constructed from a typical Japanese design.

Wandering through this Strolling Pond Garden which is the largest of the five gardens within the Japanese Garden, the water reflections bounce back distorted images of the surrounding plants, rocks and even passing clouds in the sky.

This provides great subject matter for plein air painters or photographers who wish to freeze some of these delightful images in place for remembering at a later date.

Portland, Oregon / Japanese Garden

Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR
Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR | Source
Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR
Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR | Source

The crane in the photo above is a typical sculpture found in Japanese Gardens no matter where in the world the gardens are located. It seems to fit in nicely with this aquatic setting.

Views / Japanese Garden / Portland, Oregon

Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR * The Flat Garden
Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR * The Flat Garden | Source
Overlooking Portland and Mt. Hood from the Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR
Overlooking Portland and Mt. Hood from the Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR | Source
Walking Portland: 30 Tours of Stumptown's Funky Neighborhoods, Historic Landmarks, Park Trails, Farmers Markets, and Brewpubs
Walking Portland: 30 Tours of Stumptown's Funky Neighborhoods, Historic Landmarks, Park Trails, Farmers Markets, and Brewpubs

I consulted a book similar to this one when planning our trip to Portland. It helps plan your time when you know what there is to do and see.

 

The Flat Garden

In gardens like this the sand is carefully raked into patterns symbolizing waves in the sea and not a footprint is to be seen by the people who carefully instill these designs into the sand.

Professor P. Takuma Tono was the designer of Portland's Japanese Garden and the five distinct areas within the garden. He is internationally recognized as being an expert in Japanese garden designs and Portland's Japanese Garden (of all the hundreds in the world outside of Japan) ranks at the top in authenticity.

This Flat Garden was next to the Garden Pavilion of which I did not take a photo. The Pavilion is generally used for Japanese type events as well as Society functions. It is not typically open to the public.

On the East side of the Pavilion a panoramic view of the City of Portland as well as the snow capped Mount Hood can be seen from this elevated position. What a spectacular view!

View of Portland, Oregon from Japanese Garden

My mother and niece at the Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR
My mother and niece at the Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR | Source

Japanese Garden / Portland, OR

Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR
Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR | Source

The Natural Garden


In this portion of the garden one discovers small waterfalls splashing into streams of water with colorful fish swimming in the company of one another.


Trails lead one under native trees which form a protective canopy of shade for the ferns and mosses which thrive in this environment.


Other colorful shrubs and flowers as well as the occasional sculpture add punctuation marks to this serene setting.

Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon

Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR
Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR | Source
Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR
Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR | Source

Japanese Garden / Portland, Oregon

Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR
Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR | Source


The other two gardens within the main Japanese Garden are called the Sand and Stone Garden and Tea Garden.


Portland's Japanese Garden sits on only five and a half acres which is not particularly large, but one is invited to linger...perhaps even meditate...in all of the various settings within this invitingly scenic garden.


Japanese Garden in Portland

Japanese Garden - Portland

Portland Japanese Garden, Portland OR
Portland Japanese Garden, Portland OR | Source

Blossoms on trees, shrubs and flowers would make visiting Portland's Japanese Garden a treat for the senses and would offer variety from season to season.


I can just imagine the gorgeous colors of the azalea bushes in the Spring of the year or the multitudes of irises in bloom in early Summer and the spectacular colored Fall leaves which would adorn this garden! Winter, of course, would serve up its special kind of pristine beauty.


We were on a tour of the city and while sufficient time was certainly allotted for enjoyment of the Japanese Garden, my mother, niece and I had to keep up with our tour group in moving throughout the grounds.

Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon

Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR
Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR | Source
Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR
Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR | Source
Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR
Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR | Source

Portland Japanese Garden on the Travel Channel

Finding serenity in the Japanese Garden of Portland, Oregon would not be a difficult task.

Hopefully you enjoyed this look at some of the beauty that we enjoyed on that day many years ago via these photos.

Portland, Oregon

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Portland Japanese Garden

© 2010 Peggy Woods

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Comments are welcomed! 59 comments

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 22 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi amazmerizing,

You are lucky to be living in such a gorgeous part of our country. The northwest is indeed beautiful! Glad you liked the photos taken in this particular Japanese Garden located in Portland.


amazmerizing profile image

amazmerizing 22 months ago from PACIFIC NORTHWEST, USA

So lovely... the Pacific Northwest is where we have always lived. There are numerous lovely botanical gardens everywhere. We always visit as many as we can. This garden is absolutely stunning, and your photos are fabulous. I love the koi ponds! Thanks for sharing! Thumbs up!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 22 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Au fait,

The two weeks we spent exploring the State of Oregon were glorious. There is so much spectacular beauty in that state! Hope you get a chance to visit up there someday. Thanks for the votes and shares, etc.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 22 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi peachpurple,

It certainly gives one an idea of what the Japanese gardens would look like in Japan. Serene and peaceful and beautiful comes to mind. :)


Au fait profile image

Au fait 22 months ago from North Texas

I've never been to Oregon, but I've heard how scenic it is in lots of places, and seen for myself in gorgeous photos like yours in this article. What a lovely day it must have been to spend in such beautiful surroundings.

Gave you 5 more stars, voted up and BAUI, pinned to my 'Travel' board, and will share.


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