1 This is the walking the path to the Mountain Retreat, Portland's Japanese Garden.
2 There are so many things to ponder in the garden. This concrete aggregate path stone is accented with a piece of slate at the corner and a Japanese roof tile.
3 A Tsukubai water basin greets visitors at the entryway to the Portland Japanese Garden.
4 A wisteria arbor, Fujidana, frames a 5-story stone pagoda beyond. The pagoda is a gift from Portland's sister city, Sapporo, in Japan. They became sisters in 1958, creating a broad interest in Japanese culture and it was decided that Portland should have a traditional Japanese Garden.
5 This is a view of the Upper Pond - what fabulous contrast of shapes and colors. Takuma Tono, a Tokyo Agricultural University professor and internationally recognized authority on Japanese landscape design, was commissioned to design and supervise the development of the garden.
6 The Upper Pond also offers amazing reflections. The garden was built upon the site of the former Washington Park Zoo and it opened to the public in the summer of 1967.
7 The 5.5-acre Japanese garden is composed of five separate gardens: Strolling Pond Garden, Tea Garden, Natural Garden, Flat Garden, and Sand and Stone Garden.
8 This is the roof and eave of the Kashintei Tea House, a special feature of the Garden, where formal tea ceremonies are periodically demonstrated.
9 This wooden bench beside a wooden fence with bamboo insets is spectacular! Through the careful use of plants, stones, and water, areas of serene and quiet beauty emerge. These peaceful spots in the garden lend themselves to meditation and contemplation.
10 The Tea House, called Kashintei, is more than 50 years old and was built in Japan by a master carpenter, disassembled, and then rebuilt on its present site in 1968.
11 My eye was drawn to this rain gutter with millstone insets. I wished I could see it filled with rainwater.
12 That rain gutter was just outside of the Tea House.
13 This is a Tsukubai stone arrangement with a crysanthemum style, kiku bachi, water basin at the Tea House.
14 And this is a well-trained/pruned Irex Japonica.
15 In the Middle Tea Garden a stone well is surrounded by camellia and azalea. The Tea Gardens are designed to present a peaceful, natural space that serves as a place to detach oneself from the hectic everyday world.
16 Broken edge stone pavement, called Ararekoboshi, leads to the middle of the Tea Garden.
17 The catch basins are covered with bamboo matting.
18 Looking out from the Tea Garden entryway
19 Guarding the entrance to the Tea Garden is a moss-covered upright rock of Columbia basalt.
20 A wooden log bench is a nice place to sit and contemplate just outside of the Tea Garden.
21 This is an incredibly large Japanese iris that just started blooming that week.
22 The Strolling Pond Garden (chisen kaiyu shiki teien) consists of Upper and Lower Ponds connected by a small waterfall.
23 This is the Lower Pond.
24 Nishikigoi, or simply called Koi, gathered in the Lower Pond. The white one with the red circle on her forehead is called Tancho.
25 Koi are ornamental varieties of common carp.
26 I love the color of this Japanese laceleaf maple.
27 Gardens of raked sand, or gravel, and stone are referred to as karesansui, literally, "dry landscape" gardens. In Japan, often this style of garden is part of a Zen Monastery.
28 This is the Flat Garden (hira-niwa), in which the designer worked to balance the relationship between the flat planes (the ground) and the volume of stones and clipped shrubbery and trees to create a sense of depth of space. The moss-covered Circle and Gourd Islands symbolize enlightenment and happiness.
29 A spectacular lace-leaf Japanese maple provides wonderful contrast.
30 There are sculptured Japanese black pine trees and a white flowering kousa dogwood. The Flat Garden is meant to be seen from a single viewpoint, either from within The Pavilion or from the veranda.
31 A weeping cherry tree grows on the left and a chartreuse Japanese maple in the rear. The view can be appreciated in much the same way one would appreciate a landscape painting. The Flat Garden also provides a distinctively seasonal beauty in all four seasons.
32 This is a stone lantern, Yunoki style, standing near The Pavilion.
33 These are traditional design wooden shutters at The Pavilion.
34 There was an interesting exhibit in The Pavilion Gallery called Rediscovering Lacquer: 12 Artists Reinvent A Timeless Tradition.
35 Natural lacquer (or urushi) has been used since ancient times as a durable surface coating to preserve and decorate tools, tableware, furniture, and even architecture.
36 One of the oldest and most sustainable of natural materials in the world, lacquer comes from the sap of the sumac tree.
37 It is produced only in limited regions in the world, mainly Asia, and its application is highly labor-intensive and costly.
38 Due to its remarkable resistance to water, acid, heat and insects, lacquer is the best quality surface-coating that exists on earth - at once beautiful and durable.
39 Lacquer, as an art form, is drawing new worldwide attention.