hachimangu shrine

An Historic Moment in History

On Sunday, a beautiful thing happened.

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 Crossing expansion.

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. 

Thank you, arigatou gozaimasu.


shichi-go-san-kamakura-020 by Michelle D


06.03.2012 Kamakura 

This thursday already begins at midnight. The day before Vicky, Bettina and I met Ryota at an Izakaya in Yokohama. We planned to take the last train back to Kamakura. But since Ryota was smart enough to distract us with beer and stories, I didn’t check the time before midnight. Since our last train was already gone we could stay a bit longer and embraceRyota’s offer to sleep at his place.

After sleeping around 3 hours we went back to Kamakura, which is still my favorite city in Japan. The Kamakura guesthouse doesn’t reduce that love at all. It’s a traditional japanese house, so you sleep in Futons on Tatami mats. Moreover the owner and staff are really friendly. After mentioning that my most favorite dishes are お好み焼き (Okonomiyaki) and たこ焼き (Takoyaki) to the owner, she suggested to do Takoyaki Party. Everyone could join and had to pay like 700 yen.

We still had time till 7 o clock so we went to the city. By coincidence we found a Studio Ghibli store, which we wouldn’t visit for the last time. All of us are hugh fans of the Ghibli movie, so we had to keep ourselves together and resist buying the whole store. After our third visit the cashier smiled at me and asked where we’re from, since she remembered us.

Starting at Kita-Kamakura station we visited the Engakuji and afterwards the Kenchoji temple. I visited both during my first trip to Japan and I can only recommend them. What I like about temples in Japan is the fact that you can walk a while through the temples and take the different impressions in.

Before returning to Kamakura station via the shopping street we visited the Hachimangu Shrine, which is the biggest shinto shrine in Kamakura. Many japanese people made a pilgrimage to pray for something.

On time we started the Takoyaki party! Till midnight 18 people ate 600 Takoyaki together. That’s what the staff told us in the late evening. It was a successful event, which gave me a chance to eat the best Takoyaki and put my Japanese skills to the test. With every customer of Kamakura guesthouse I had many interestring conversation and got to known that a person went all the way from Tokyo to Kamakura by bycycle. Impressive!

Today’s calendar:
Weather: sunny and 15 degrees
Distance: From Yokohama to Kamakura
Accommodation: Kamakura Guesthouse

Positive: Takoyaki!
Negative: nothing


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!


20141116 Takayama 9 by Bong Grit
Via Flickr:
お散歩ついでに桜山八幡宮まで。 @Sakurayama hachimangu Shrine, Takayama, Gifu. (岐阜県高山市 櫻山八幡宮)

New Adventures!!

So in case anyone has been following my adventures, here is an update!! Today, after almost a week of being here, I finally left the Navy base. I have been so busy trying to set up our place, and doing other minute things, I haven’t had a chance to do much. That being said, one of the big things I have had to do, is take a week-long class here on base, the first part being rules and regulations of the base, and the second being an introduction to Japanese culture. So!! Today, as a part of our Japanese culture class, we got to take a field trip to Kamakura, about 30 minutes away on train. What an experience!! 

So Kamakura was the first capitol of Japan, where the first Shogun settled himself, and there is this big beautiful Shinto Shrine that we got to tour, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Anyway, so this morning, I got to experience being on a Japanese train, seriously no biggie, there was English signs in most places, and with a small railway map that we were given it was relatively easy. Also, Japanese trains, are always on time, no joke. Then after we got to Kamakura from Yokosuka we were told to break for lunch, before meeting back for a small historical tour of Kamakura. So my group of ladies and myself decided to be adventurous and went to a small restaurant and tried okonomiyaki for the first time. It was so cool to watch!! And it was funny, people say that you don’t have to take your shoes everywhere, but of course the first restaurant I go to in Japan, makes us take off our shoes! Hahaha! It was kinda cool! They had a bunch of little cubbies where you would put your shoes and take the croc-like sandals in their place. Then you would take the wooden number corresponding to the cubby and that would lock it, leaving your shoes safe! Cool!! So, I have read of okonomiyaki from manga (yes, yes, weeb, I know) and let me tell you, it’s kinda cool. You choose from the menu and that tells you what ingredients you want (I chose pork and curry) and then they bring out bowls filled with batter, your ingredients, and some seasonings. Then they proceed to mix it all up and then they put it on the hot mini hibachi-like grill in the middle of the table and make it into a small round little pancake (because that’s what it is, a Japanese pancake. Don’t let the name fool you, it’s not sweet). I’m pretty sure that we are actually supposed to do this all ourselves, but we were OBVIOUSLY clueless so the waitress helped us out lmao. Also we all tried the melon soda, let me tell you, it was delicious. 

Ok! So after that we wandered a bit before going to the meeting place for our tour, and guess what?!?!?! I found the cutest little Hayao Miyazaki dedicated store!! They had all of the cutest stuff, from Totoro, to Kiki’s Delivery Service, some Princess Monoke, and even some Ponyo. There were things from day planners, to kitchen towels, and chop sticks, and phone charms ( I bought a super cute one!), to tea cups, and all sorts of other really neat stuff! I didn’t take enough money with me to buy the entire store, and I’m kicking myself for it. Also, like a true nerd, I was really the only one in my group that knew anything about Totoro so my friends didn’t understand why I spazzed out like I did when I realized what we had stumbled upon.

After that, we went to meet our tour guide, her name was Keiko and she was very soft spoken. She stopped us along the way to the actual Shrine to tell us a little of the rich history of Kamakura and even a little about their two major religions, Shinto and Buddhism. When we got to the Hachimangu Shrine grounds, it was beautiful, it was as if there was a line between the modern world and the historic one. There were so many people going to the shrine to give their prayers and wishes to the god of the shrine. As we walked and made our way closer to the shrine itself, we saw some young women in beautiful yukatas (I want desperately to wear/own one!) Ms. Keiko told us about the types of ceremonies, events, and festivals that they hold at the shrine, she even taught us how to purify ourselves and how to properly pray at a Shinto shrine. After we went up the stairs and into the shrine, she then told us a little about their amulets, wishes, and fortunes. Once she was done with her tour she let us go to find our own way back to the train and back on base. Yikes! But really, it wasn’t so bad. So long as you paid attention, and were willing to get a little lost, everything was fine. So after we were let go, my little group and myself went around the shrine grounds and took some pictures and just soaked it all in before heading back. On our way back we decided that it was hot and we wanted a cool treat. Milk and green tea swirled ice cream. SO YUMMY!! It was so delicious!! I’m such a fan of green tea ice cream, and to have it around so readily makes me so super happy! Soon after that, and some more exploring, we called it a day and went back home. Seriously, some attention here and there and a map of the train lines, and it’s super easy!! Tomorrow is my last day before this class is up, and I get to move into our new apartment on Tuesday. I’m so excited!! This hotel is much better than our last one, but I’m so ready to have our own place again, plus I want my cat back. I took pictures and I’ll post them up later if you guys want!! Stay tuned, more to follow soon enough, I’m sure!!  

JAPAN, Kawasaki : Women hold candy in the shape of phalluses at the Wakamiya Hachimangu Shrine during the Kanamara Festival in Kawasaki, a suburb of Tokyo on April 3, 2016. More than 20,000 people gathered to enjoy the annual festival which Shinto believers carry giant phalluses through the streets. / AFP / TORU YAMANAKA