The Portlandic Chronicles: The Japanese Gardens

The Japanese GardensTiny pebbled footpaths wind through giant bonzais and countless other dripping beauty trees, each one a rare color to accent the dark green backgrounds of moss over rocks around waterfalls. The gardens pour down over a hillside, only teasing you with what’s in store as you take the free shuttle up a twisting turn of a road and are dropped at the gates, the silence of serenity providing the perfect dull ambiance to a chorus of squirrels and brightly colored birds.

Mt. Hood over the skyline

Mt. Hood looms over a skyline which was forcibly kept lower than 30 stories or so, to keep downtown buildings from blocking this amazing view.

A tree basket

So many different paths leading to so many pristine locations, perfect for meditation and undoubtedly designed for exactly that. Some of the walkways would be diverted, some looking freshly carved through the wood and stone, giving the entire place the feeling of being a living, changing garden.


This was my favorite spot, below, where a large school of these fish, called koi, wove the water between them as a perfect pool of water sat quite still, a small stream lapdancing it’s way down the rocks nearly waterfall and into the whole experience. A small stranger boy came up and started climbing on my back while I was watching all of this, and I assumed it was Tristan, only to finally look up at the little guy – Asian, probably 2 or 3 years old at most, and wearing only flip-flops and shorts – and be teleported somewhere ancient in my mind in the moment.

Koi swimmingly serene

The escape was a slow stroll down the hillside over hand-carved stone stairs and winding twisting trails that spilled back out into the Portland suburbs.

stairways home

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