Portland Japanese Garden

The Japanese Garden in Portland Oregon is spectacular in the fall. Each surface meticulously covered in shining rainwater.

The Japanese Garden in Portland Oregon is spectacular in the fall. Each surface is meticulously covered in shining rainwater.

I had never been to the Japanese Garden in Portland. I’ve been here just about three years. A professor of mine had made the garden seem like the best place to go in Portland. But, it always intimidated me–the thought of going–because of the entrance fee ($9.50 for adults), and because of their seemingly strict photo policy. And because I hadn’t heard anyone else talking about the garden, I didn’t consider going.

Standing at the edge of the zen garden. My first time at a zen garden. Surprisingly enough, I loved it and felt incredibly relaxed. It was peaceful.

Standing at the edge of the zen garden. My first time at a zen garden. Surprisingly enough, I loved it and felt incredibly relaxed. It was peaceful.

I have been taking on personal challenges lately: going to new stores, visiting new places, trying new activities. Upon reflection, I quickly latched onto the idea of going to the Japanese Garden. It particularly interested me because I’ve been studying Japanese (language) again. (TextFugu rox!!!)

Zen garden from afar. I know it looks like a sandbox from here, but you can't see over those walls when you're in the area.

Zen garden from afar. I know it looks like a sandbox from here, but you can’t see over those walls when you’re in the area.

Well, let me tell you this: I love the Japanese Garden. I thought it was going to be stuffy and uncomfortable, and maybe crowded. But, no. I went on a Thursday in November at around 11:30 AM, with a slight drizzle. There were other people, but not many at all! No one asked if I had a camera, and I didn’t have to sign a waiver, like the site mentions. Awesome. It’s good when I feel like a place trusts me.

The smallest details delighted me. Like these metal plates with designs on them.

The smallest details delighted me. Like these metal plates with designs on them.

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The cranes (つる) were my favorite.

The cranes (つる) were my favorite.

Overall, it seemed well-maintained, but not to the point of seeming blatantly unnatural. The feel was great. And the best part was that I could bike ride from home–albeit, up a few hundred feet, and across a few miles. The path up to the garden was fantastic in itself (no pictures, sorry). And it’s right near the Rose Garden (where I parked my bike), so I got a peek of that one, too.

Well, now that I’ve explained myself and properly admitted that I should have visited the Japanese Garden sooner, that I had inappropriate fears about it, I will reward you with some delightful photos. I really enjoyed spending two hours taking pictures of everything beautiful in this garden. Not only is this one of the best places to go in Portland for its beauty, but for the significance of it. It was created to try to patch up relationships with Japan following World War II and Japanese internment in the United States. Commemorating the best ideas from Japan through physical transformation of a landscape. I see it as a success.

The exhibit building (the "Pavilion") was gorgeous. I fell in love.

The exhibit building (the “Pavilion”) was gorgeous. I fell in love.

The pavilion, cont'd. Dig the deep brown area under the roof.

The pavilion, cont’d. Dig the deep brown area under the roof.

From the veranda: a view of the Flat Garden. It really tricked me at times, seeming like water. Apparently that's what it's supposed to do.

From the veranda: a view of the Flat Garden. It really tricked me at times, seeming like water. Apparently that’s what it’s supposed to do.

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A view of the city from the back of the pavilion.

A view of the city from the back of the pavilion.

I passed by some employees (or maybe volunteers?) near here, who were very friendly! Another plus.

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Okay. The above device requires (1.) explanation and (2.) praise. The right-hand stick fills with water from the left-hand stick. Being on a pivot, once full, the right-hand stick tips toward the pool and dumps its contents. Finally, it swings back upward, making the most pleasing clonking sound when it hits the rock underneath. I have a quick video, I’m wondering how to attach it into the post? Hmph, I don’t know.

Sparkly fish.

Sparkly fish.

Crazy eyeballs fish.

Crazy eyeballs fish.

Calico fish.

Calico fish.

My favorite fish. How is he so perfectly colored like the Japanese flag?

My favorite fish. How is he so perfectly colored like the Japanese flag?

A relaxing place to sit.

A relaxing place to sit.

Many people liked this bridge. Across the way, I saw a Varied Thrush hopping around.

Many people liked this bridge. Across the way, I saw a Varied Thrush hopping around.

I had to get a close-up shot of the bridge's ornaments.

I had to get a close-up shot of the bridge’s ornaments.

A tea house in the background.

A tea house in the background.

Isn't this a great background photo?

Isn’t this a great background photo?

Peeking inside the tea house--it was wide open.

Peeking inside the tea house–it was wide open.

Look! Real tatami!!! For someone who loves all things Japanese (me) I've had very little exposure to authentic products.

Look! Real tatami!!! For someone who loves all things Japanese (me) I’ve had very little exposure to authentic products.

Check out the ceiling!

Check out the ceiling!

So many interesting objects around the garden. This one was hidden away under some low trees near a pond.

So many interesting objects around the garden. This one was hidden away under some low trees near a pond.

This reminded me of something from a Miyazaki movie.

This reminded me of something from a Miyazaki movie.

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These fish were all hiding from the tourists. I spotted them, but left quickly as to not disturb them further.

These fish were all hiding from the tourists. I spotted them, but left quickly as to not disturb them further.

Blam-o! Red!

Blam-o! Red!

There's a Varied Thrush in this picture. Can you spot him?

There’s a Varied Thrush in this picture. Can you spot him?

Why make stairs straight and uniform when you can make them interesting and winding?

Why make stairs straight and uniform when you can make them interesting and winding?

A small building to sit inside at the back of the garden.

A small building to sit inside at the back of the garden.

The seat area had a nice design and a peaceful window.

The seat area had a nice design and a peaceful window.

The sun.

The sun.

The moon.

The moon.

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Have a relaxing day.

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