The Japanese Gardens are pretty much the closest you can get to the real thing without buying a plane ticket to Japan, so I’ve heard. With no frame of reference, I really enjoyed our walk through the differing styles of gardens that the Portland gardens house. It costs $14.95 for entry, but we had such a good time getting Zen with the nature that I think it is totally worth it. The gardens are a gorgeous place to relax, rejuvenate, reflect, or just take pretty pictures of pretty things.

I had a conversation the other day that got me thinking about the future. Truth be told, for the past month or two, I haven’t really stopped thinking about the future and wrapping myself up in the idea that the future could literally hold anything. This can be really exciting and also terrifying. (And also unhealthy, if you forget to be where you are and to make your days count.) In my very first post, I talked about feeling like I was at a crossroads. It turns out, that crossroads was not an immediate choice I was making. Now, over a month later, on paper, I am still in the same place. However, I have been exploring various corners of my own mind and shaping the outlook I want to take when I take that next step into the unknown. I haven’t chosen a new path yet, but it is inevitable and it’s a choice that’s coming in hot. I have had so much time to sit around and envision all the possible scenarios for my immediate future that it almost feels like if I don’t make the most perfect choice possible, I am dooming myself until the end of time. That’s right, the end of time, people.

Okay, I take it back. But at least it feels like I might end up wasting my twenties, and this is NOT a decade of my life that I want to miss out on! But if you live your whole life in fear of choosing one path or another, you are, by default, choosing a path with which you will always be unhappy. So I’ll be choosing a path soon, and my goal is simple: just don’t regret it. Whatever I choose to do this week, this month, this year, I will stand by my decision. Because that’s really all we can do.

We walked in a clockwise fashion around the Japanese Gardens, starting by the pavilion. As I mentioned last week, we were blessed with very clear skies, which allowed for an awesome view of Mount Hood from the gardens! I think my favorite garden was the Natural Garden, with mossy rocks and big trees. We also stayed for a while at the Strolling Pond Garden, and watched the koi fish swim underneath us. These koi were huge! Once again, maybe my ignorance is showing here because I’m pretty unfamiliar with this type of thing, but the fish seemed really big to me. This section of the gardens was the most crowded while we were walking through.

We arrived in the afternoon and spent around an hour walking through gardens. You could spend less time if you aren’t the type to meander, or more time if you want to examine every plant. I love and appreciate nature, but am by no means a naturalist (maybe one day), so if that’s your thing, make sure you have plenty of time! The Japanese Gardens will not disappoint!

That day, I chose a path that wandered through pristine, Zen gardens. Together we will see where my path takes me next.


21 thoughts on “Finding Zen at the Portland Japanese Gardens

  1. That was one refreshing post. Loved the greenery and neat decorations. Japanese gardens have a charm of their own.
    Lal Bagh gardens of Bangalore too has a section dedicated to Japanese gardening.

  2. I didn’t get to go to this the last time I was there but I’m going back soon!! I also want to go to the witches castle or something. It seems so pretty!

    1. You should definitely include the Japanese Gardens in your plans! I didn’t make it to the Columbia River Gorge this time around, but hopefully I’ll see it next time! Thanks for reading 🙂

  3. I’ve been to the Japanese gardens, and your photos really showcase its beauty. Such a peaceful area that is so well maintained and manicured. Also a great place for deep thoughts. And don’t worry…you won’t waste your 20s, they will be great!

  4. The gardens are beautiful indeed – I love that there is a little piece of Japanese culture, nature and zen accessible in Portland. Really does offer a great opportunity to self reflect too in this type of setting. Wishing you all the best for choosing your path – as you said, just no regrets in life whatever you choose 🙂

  5. Lovely post! Japanese gardens are so peaceful, and this looks like a beautiful place to spend some time. Wishing you the very best on whichever path you choose next. No regrets, just make the most of every day! 🙂

  6. What a wonderful place. Love the serenity and the calm it exudes. A perfect spot for reflection and relaxation. Lush green surroundings, those amazing trees and colourful flowers! 🙂 It ll help me to be inspired to write 🙂 All the best for your decision making! 🙂 Nature sure helps and heals.

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