Portland’s Japanese Gardens

This past August I traveled to Portland, Oregon to visit my clients there.  Usually I make time during my Northwest trips to schedule in some recreation, but this trip was a quick one due to the broker dealer change in my business that month.  After 23-1/2 years with one brokerage firm backing my practice, I jettisoned them to move my business to a stronger firm.

Anyway my trip was short, but I needed a break from the work, so on my last day in Portland, I decided to go visit the Japanese Gardens.  It had been close to 30 years when I was there last, so it was almost new to me again.

Entrance wp
This gate is the entrance to the Japanese Gardens area, but not the formal gardens themselves.  That is up the hill near the buildings in the background.

Shortly after World War II, several of the Portland area residents of Japanese ancestry decided to construct a traditional Japanese garden to help show the public the true character of the Japanese people — kind, peaceful and nurturing.

Now think about this for just a moment, and really think what that says about the character of these people who called America their home.  Shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the US government rounded up people of Japanese origin all over the western United States, and put them into internment camps (prison camps) scattered in remote areas of the west.

See my post, Interned, about these camps for some interesting and eye opening history.  These people were literally ripped from their homes and businesses and imprisoned simply due to the ancestral origins.  Most of the Japanese who were interned in these camps were US citizens born here.  And these same folks spent untold hours laboring to construct and maintain these gardens to show their solidarity with the rest of the US citizens of Portland.  Astonishing!

Serenity wp
This little path was one of my favorite spots in the gardens.  I just felt quite happy and peaceful here.

Well, one thing that changed in 30 years was the traffic and parking in this part of Portland.  I had to find parking about 3/4 mile away and walk back to the grounds.  The Japanese Gardens are located across the street from the Portland Rose Gardens, another must see if you visit the city.  In fact, Portland is known as the “Rose City”.

Garden Tree 1 wp
Another view in the garden area with the gift shop and gravel and rock gardens to he left and back of this photograph.

The gardens were exactly what I needed.  The tranquility there is amazing.   I could literally feel the tension draining as I walked the gardens.  Unfortunately, Mother Nature was not being overly cooperative with her lighting that afternoon as it became quite sunny after a rather cool and cloudy morning.  So, I do not have a lot of pictures, as many of my shots have critical portions of scenes where the highlights are just too washed out for my standards. Nevertheless, here are some of the things that I saw in the gardens that afternoon.

Gravel Garden 1 wp
I can’t imagine how much time it takes to make sure everything is raked so precisely and kept to perfectly groomed.

If you go, and you plan of taking photographs, perhaps try to attend on an overcast day as the lighting is much better.  I hope you can enjoy my abbreviated photo tour of the Portland Japanese Gardens, and I hope you make it there yourself.  The beauty and serenity of this place is truly good for one’s soul.  And, it speaks volumes about the true character of the Japanese-American people.

Japanese Maple wp
This little tree is a bonsai – miniaturized version of a a full sized tree. This is a Japanese maple that is 70 years old!  By placing the sapling in a small dish and continually trimming and shaping the top, the roots stay small.  Some of the trees in the collection at the gardens are over 150 years old!
Gravel Garden 2 wp
Here is another view of the rock and gravel gardens.
Gift Shop wp
This is another shot of the gift shop building with that spectacular Japanese Maple in prominent view.
Reflect Pool 1 wp
This pond was simply stunning.
the Gate wp
And lastly, here is a view of the main gate into the formal gardens.  

As always, thank you so much for stopping by my bog.