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A Year in Review: 2019 at Portland Japanese Garden

Photo by Donna Blocher

This year was filled with unforgettable moments at Portland Japanese Garden.
As we prepare to usher in a new decade, we are reflecting on some of the top highlights from 2019:

Jonathan Ley

Portland Japanese Garden hosted a half million visitors in 2019. Half the visitors were local and half were from around the world.

A handful of well-known guests like Hassan Whiteside of the Portland Trailblazers and world renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma  – who designed the Garden’s Cultural Crossing expansion – visited this year. Bestselling writer Pico Iyer was among the visiting thinkers and creators to give a Garden+ public lecture.

Bestselling author Pico Iyer presents to Garden guests/Photo: Jonathan Ley

“Every time you turn a corner you think you’ve found the best part of the Garden, but there’s something just as good, or even better, around the next corner.” – Linda, TripAdvisor

Portland Japanese Garden was nationally recognized again as a place of respite and beauty. Architectural Digest listed us as one of the 8 Most Beautifully Designed Gardens in the United States and MSN named us the most romantic spot in Oregon. Newsweek Magazine called Portland Japanese Garden one of the top things to experience in Portland, Oregon.

The Garden Showcased Various Art Forms and Elevated Artists: 
Noritaka Tatehana, the artist behind Lady Gaga’s heel-less shoes held his first solo North American exhibition at Portland Japanese Garden.

Noritaka Tatehana, Embossed Painting Series / Photo: Jonathan Ley

These hand-carved Power Boards are now on permanent display outside The Oregon Convention Center. The two works of art were created by both local and Japanese native peoples and were commissioned specifically for the Garden’s Forest of Dreams exhibition earlier this year.

Forest of Dreams exhibition in the Pavilion Gallery at Portland Japanese Garden/Photo: Jonathan Ley

There are five upcoming art exhibitions in 2020. The first exhibition, Spirits Rising, opens Saturday, January 18.

“My Little Sister whispered the whole time she was in the Garden – not common in the time I have with this energetic 11 year old – because the space inspired her with a real appreciation and reverence for the Garden. She and I also loved the exhibition you had at the time. I look forward to the next time I spend with her at the Garden. Thank you again for the opportunity.” – participant of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Columbia Northwest’s partnership with the Garden

There were Hundreds of Cross-Cultural Events:
The Garden hosted several one-of-a-kind events such as a first ever whisky tasting of prime Japanese whiskies, and a performance featuring authentic Geisha from Japan.

Photo: Jonathan Ley

Click here to watch a video of geisha visiting Portland Japanese Garden. Here is a Link to Portland Japanese Garden’s events page, to find information on next year’s cultural festivals and events.

The Garden Expanded Special Experiences for Members!
Portland Japanese Garden began hosting mindfulness tours – a practice of discarding worldly thoughts and concerns and seeing oneself as a small but integral part of the universe. These tours will continued to be offered into the new year.

Starting in 2020, the Garden is adding an extra hour for our members to use the Vollum Library.

Peter Friedman

Our Gardeners Nurtured the Space for Peace and Tranquility.
For the first time in many years, the gardening staff at Portland Japanese Garden “touched every single pine in the Garden during pine pruning season.” Read more about that here.

Photo by Dina Avila

With the help of Garden’s supporters like yourself, Portland Japanese Garden is now able to start renovating the machiai shelter in the Natural Garden; a special spot for many visitors.

“When I was going through a very difficult time in 1993 I would come to the gardens frequently to meditate in the Machiai. I found solace and healing energy within. I recently toured the gardens again with my wife and daughter (her first time there) and was comforted to see that the structure is still there, grounded in the beauty of its surroundings … like seeing an old and wise friend. Thank you.” – Nate, member since 1991

The Number of Portland Japanese Garden Staff Members Grew to All-Time High.

The number of employees at Portland Japanese Garden increased to an all-time time high of 131 during peak season, to provide the most exceptional experience to our visitors near and far. The Garden currently has 170 volunteers who help keep Portland Japanese Garden the warm and welcoming space that it is.

Peter Friedman

Garden Visitors Reveled in the Magical and Fleeting Weeks of Peak Fall Color.

Photographers came from near and far to take pictures of fall colors in Portland Japanese Garden.

Photo by Chris Ruggles

Thank you for being a part of the Portland Japanese Garden family.
We look forward to sharing 2020 with you.