A decades-old vision conceptualized by the dreamers
and doers at the Portland Japanese Garden became reality.
Nearly three thousand people came to witness the conclusion
of construction and celebrate our beautiful new beginning: the Cultural
A 20-person delegation from the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine traveled from Kamakura, Japan to bless the Cultural Village from our new Tateuchi
Courtyard. There were
traditional dance performances, beautiful ikebana (flower) arrangements, a Japanese style chado
(tea) ceremony, lovely sounds of koto
(Japanese harp), the exuberant sounds of taiko
(Japanese drums), and shamisen (a Japanese-style banjo).
Just one day prior, more than two thousand Garden members came for an exclusive look at our completed expansion.
In the words of CEO Stephen Bloom, “Who would have thought that the empty
cement landscape of the former Oregon zoo would be transformed into a place dedicated
to beauty, nature, and learning more about one another?”
Now, we are taking another step forward, evolving our story, through bringing people together in one place, demonstrating our fundamental interconnectedness, and sharing these ideals worldwide. This is only the beginning.
I took the train back to Kamakura after my visit to the Great Buddha, so that I could see the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu shrine in the daylight and covered in snow. I was warmed from my tea break, and I ignored all the shops on the way to the shrine so that I wasn’t outside for too long. The snow was pretty slushy by the time I got to the shrine (although more was falling) and big chunks of snow was sliding off the temple roofs. It was relatively pretty, especially with the acer tree’s red leaves contrasting against the white of the snow. I didn’t stay long as I was getting pretty cold, so I hurriedly walked back to the train station and went to the next stop down the tracks, Kita-Kamakura.
There’s another shrine here, called Engaku-ji. It’s right next to the train station and it’s a large area filled with numerous temple buildings and gardens. There were plenty of opportunities for gorgeous photos. If you think Japan is pretty, wait til you see it in the snow! It adds a whole new level of magic to the place. Unfortunately for me, after walking to the top of the hill I couldn’t feel my feet or my hands, so I rushed back down to the station where I only had to wait 5 minutes for the train. My only goal was to get warm, and being on the train and then the subway helped. It was a quick day, shorter than yesterday, purely because it was so cold!! Tomorrow’s meant to be warmer and I really hope it is, I can’t spend my last week in Japan trying to keep warm!