gourd in Japanese Garden

Gourd-shaped Bottle

Winter is probably not the best season for visiting the Japanese Garden, five and a half acres in the west hills of Portland. Leaving my winter coat in the car may have also contributed to a less warm reception. A stroll around the gardens, however, with intentional breathing puts one in a meditative mind. Designed by Takuma Tono, five garden styles are featured: Tea Garden, Strolling and Pond Garden, Natural Garden, Sand and Stone Garden, and Flat Garden. The Heavenly Falls is a well-designed waterfall flowing down the hillside. The cranes, located in the Upper Pond, are said to symbolize longevity. The Flat Garden is designed using a sea of raked sand. It has two islands, one depicting a sake cup (signifying pleasure), one a gourd-shaped bottle (signifying a wish for the visitor’s happiness). The Japanese Garden is a cultural wonder where it is possible to see oneself as a small but integral part of the universe.