It’s time to thaw out, Portland. As vaccines roll out, and Portland opens, it seems that our collective emergence from a year of hibernation is perfectly synchronized with flourishing vegetation. Tulips are bursting, magnolias are blooming, and our city’s greenery is more verdant than ever. If you can’t get enough of the glory of Springtime in Portland from those neighborhood walks, head to Portland Japanese Garden—our city’s slice of Eden.

Peel your eyes away from your screen, cancel that Zoom meeting and make it an email, and head over to Portland Japanese Garden for a much-needed connection to nature this spring season.

While the garden can be experienced on your own, it is also a great place to reconnect with friends and family safely outdoors. Enjoy a relaxing Mother’s Day, have a post-vaccination reunion stroll with friends, or take your kids to walk off some restless afternoon energy on a treasure hunt (ask for a kid’s treasure hunt map at the front desk). Welcome the unofficial start to summer over the long Memorial Day Weekend with family or friends to reconnect or visit solo (raise your hand if you’re an introvert!) to surround yourself, in quiet and calm.

Mike Centioli
Mike Centioli

The internationally acclaimed garden is home to a mix of native Japanese plants that thrive in a Portland climate, as well as native Pacific Northwest plants, like the Doug firs that gate the perimeter of the garden or the familiar rhododendrons and trillium that line the paths within.

Color, however, is not necessarily the focus of a Japanese garden; neither are the specific identities of the plants in the garden. Japanese gardens instead honor harmony, composition, balance and humility (none of the plants is labeled as in a traditional Western garden).

This urban oasis is actually home to eight garden styles, and you can easily find the perfect one to fit your fancy. Whether you’re hoping to snap a masked selfie in front of Heavenly Falls, or recharge and breathe in the spring energy in the tranquil Sand and Stone Garden.

Mike Centioli
Mike Centioli

Enjoy the Flat Garden like you would a painting in the Portland Art Museum. It is a masterpiece of balance and also where you’ll find dogwoods blooming. The Natural Garden is for the explorer in all of us, with winding paths that provide a mental escape from the concrete jungle that lies just on the other side of the Doug firs. And the Strolling Pond Garden is decorated with koi fish and this time of year, wonderful azaleas.

Rest assured when attending the Portland Japanese Garden. Staff has taken all necessary safety measures to ensure the safety and comfort of the community against COVID-19. All staff and visitors are required to wear a face covering outdoors and indoors. Navigate the garden through one-way paths and physical distancing. And there is timed ticket entry and limited capacity, so you will need to reserve your tickets ahead of your visit. Find detailed guidelines on their website.

Schedule a reservation, wear a mask, and take your antihistamine before venturing into the great outdoors—the beauty of the garden is not exempt to pesky pollen! You can schedule a visit ahead of time at this link, or head over and buy your ticket at the gate.

This article was paid for by the Portland Japanese Garden.