Portland Japanese Garden in Oregon

PORTLAND JAPANESE GARDEN, OREGON: “Here, miles from Japan, I stand as if warmed by the spring sunshine of home” is what the Poetry Stone of Portland Japanese Garden inscribed with. Truly, this place makes you feel like you are in a place far away in the East. This 5.5 acre garden is proclaimed to be the most authentic Japanese garden outside of Japan. Tucked away in the scenic hills of Portland, this is a tranquil haven for anyone.

Heavenly Falls in Portland Japanese Garden in Oregon

Heavenly Falls in Portland Japanese Garden in Oregon

Portland Japanese Garden features five different garden styles and some of these styles are typically found in Zen monasteries. It changes its face with every season with different blooms and colors. Different trees adorn this place at different times of the year. My favorite is probably the autumn when colors change and you see eloquent beauty of this place. I still have to visit this place during the cherry blossom in April. Try to avoid weekends as this garden is packed with tourists and enthusiasts photographers trying to capture its striking beauty from different angles and perspectives.

Falls colors in Portland Japanese Garden, Oregon

Falls colors in Portland Japanese Garden, Oregon

The garden hosts different art exhibitions, festivals, workshops, and lectures throughout the whole year in the Pavilion. My first visit here was a brief one only with my camera and a tripod. During my second visit with my family and uncle-in-law from Chicago, there was an exhibition on Japanese lacquered art “Urushi”. Also standing on the veranda of this Pavilion offers a magnificent view of Mt. Hood and the valley.

Intimate pond and crane statues in Portland Japanese Garden in Oregon

Intimate pond and crane statues in Portland Japanese Garden in Oregon

Stroll around stone pagoda lantern, stand on the Moon Bridge, enjoy Lower Pond and crane stones, marvel at traditional constructions, walk along the Zig Zag Bridge that leads to Heavenly Falls where koi swim beneath the clear water. You will enjoy the trees, shrubs, ferns, mosses, and mushrooms that grow in their natural form. Make sure to stop by their gift-shop for unique Japanese arts and traditional trinkets at the end of the trip.

Mushrooms on the ground of Portland Japanese Garden in Oregon

Mushrooms on the ground of Portland Japanese Garden in Oregon

The garden is located on Kingston Avenue in Portland, very close to Children’s Museum and Washington Park. It’s open year-round. There is a paid parking space for the visitors. Entrance fee is $9.50 per adult and extra $5 if you want to use a tripod. Free guided tour is available few times in a day during summer time.

A small stream running down in the middle of Portland Japanese Garden in Oregon

A small stream running down in the middle of Portland Japanese Garden in Oregon

 

 

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Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland, Oregon

LAN SU CHINESE GARDEN: I enjoy visiting Chinese or Japanese garden more than any other types of gardens there are to visit. I don’t know if it’s the landscape, sound of the water, small bridges, ancient architecture style, fountains, collection of trees, or just the atmosphere that attracts me the most. The only oriental garden that we visited in Europe was Hasselt Japanese Garden in Belgium. I regret not seeing the one in the heart of Brussels; we made couple initiatives to visit it…but never worked out.

Beautiful landscape of Lan Su Chinese Garden in the heart of Portland, Oregon

Beautiful landscape of Lan Su Chinese Garden in the heart of Portland, Oregon

After returning to Portland, I was determined to pay my visit to Lan Su Chinese Garden for the second time (first time we went there was about 4/5 years ago). I was supposed to go for a photo-shoot (just my camera and I) that morning but somehow ended up in Pearl District near Portland downtown. After making some frustrated turns, I saw the sign to this garden. I quickly searched the address in my phone and started following my GPS. I was destined to visit this place that morning, and I was happy that I ended up here.

Trees, pond, and bridge in Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland, Oregon

Trees, pond, and bridge in Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland, Oregon

Lan Su Chinese Garden is a piece of wonderland that gives you the opportunity to peek into Chinese culture and heritage in the heart of busy Portland in Oregon. The garden was built in 2000 by expert Chinese artisans using traditional materials and methods. It took sixty-five artisans for 10 months to assemble and complete the structures that were crafted in China. It’s considered the most authentic Suzhou-style Chinese garden outside of China. Most of its building materials, including few hundred tons of rocks actually traveled from China.

Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland, Oregon

Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland, Oregon

Other than few hundreds of plant species, visit the Courtyard of Tranquility, terrace, Moon Locking Pavilion, Rock Mountain and Waterfall. Don’t miss the carved ginkgo wood or some penjing that contains trees that are over one hundred years old. The garden around you is a spiritual and peaceful place that will help you escape the daily lives. When you are done with everything have a cup of hot tea in the Tower of Cosmic Reflection tea-house. The tea-house is a separate entity which promotes social art and culture of tea from the Far East.

Traditional architectures in Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland, Oregon

Traditional architectures in Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland, Oregon

The ticket to the garden is around $10. I ended up buying their annual membership for $60. I wanted to take advantage of their free Tai Chi class every Thursday morning at 10am which is available for anyone.

Tai Chi class on Thursday mornings in Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland, Oregon

Tai Chi class on Thursday mornings in Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland, Oregon

Hasselt Japanese Garden in Hasselt, Belgium

HASSELT JAPANESE GARDEN: Hasselt Japanese Garden is a little piece of Japan in Belgium. This is a miniature version of the real natural beauty reconstructed the way Japanese have been doing for centuries. This is a must-see spot in Hasselt since it’s the biggest Japanese garden in Western Europe. Built about 20 years ago, the art of landscaping of this imperial garden depicts calm mountain scenery, with soothing sound of river, and view of rocks. Japanese style house, cherry blossoms, a Shinto temple, water-falls, and clear water are just some ideal things to give its visitors some inner peace and tranquility.

Enjoy the pictures that I took during our visit and don’t forget to visit Hasselt Japanese Garden if you are ever in Belgium:

Hasselt Japanese Garden in Hasselt, Belgium
Hasselt Japanese Garden in Hasselt, Belgium
          
Hasselt Japanese Garden in Hasselt, Belgium
Hasselt Japanese Garden in Hasselt, Belgium
        
Hasselt Japanese Garden in Hasselt, Belgium
Hasselt Japanese Garden in Hasselt, Belgium
       
Hasselt Japanese Garden in Hasselt, Belgium
Hasselt Japanese Garden in Hasselt, Belgium
      
Hasselt Japanese Garden in Hasselt, Belgium
Hasselt Japanese Garden in Hasselt, Belgium
     

Entry fee to the garden is 5 euros per person (kids 12 years and below are free). The park is open from 2 – 6pm during the summer time. Couple hours inside the park is sufficient. We didn’t find any place to have lunch (thank god we brought sandwiches with us that day) but you can find tea and some snacks in the center of the park, just follow the sign.

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