When visiting the Pacific Northwest, you probably wouldn’t think to look East for inspiration. But did you know that Portland, Oregon is home to two exquisite gardens with Eastern influences: the Portland Japanese Garden and the Lan Su Chinese Garden?
Having called Japan home for many years, I sometimes find myself comparing Japanese inspired things, food, etc. to ‘the real deal’. I’m not a Japan snob, but I often find a lot of ‘ethnically inspired’ things to be tacky and not very nice. That said, the Portland Japanese Garden exceeded our expectations and I’d even say that it is arguably the most authentic Japanese garden outside of Japan.
The garden’s five areas include a flat garden, strolling pond garden, a tea garden, natural garden, and a sand and stone garden. Everything is really well thought out and there were moments when I felt I had been transported back to some of my favourite garden spots in Kyoto or Tokyo.
There is a small entrance fee to the garden, which is located directly above the Rose Garden in Washington Park. As the trek up the hill to the Japanese Garden can be quite strenuous for some, I recommend taking the free shuttle bus from the parking lot to the Admission Gate. Spring and autumn are probably my favourite times to view Japanese gardens, but each season has its own unique beauty.
Have you visited a Japanese garden outside of Japan that you think is noteworthy? If so, please share with us in the comments!