The Portland Japanese Garden, together with famed architect Kengo Kuma and master garden craftsman Sadafumi Uchiyama, will launch its $33.5M Cultural Village expansion on April 2 not only to accommodate new spaces for tourists, but also to boost immersive experiences for visitors in the traditional Japanese arts and culture.
Kuma, who also organizes the National Stadium for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and designed the new Cultural Village, considers this as his first public commission in the US, to enhance the experience of visitors and ensure the serenity of the garden to be protected for future generations with the integration Japanese design principles.
"Given its proximity to nature, Portland is unlike any place in the world. This new Cultural Village serves as a connector of the stunning Oregon landscape, Japanese arts and a subtle gradation to architecture," said Kuma in a statement sent to Travelers Today. "Working with the Garden has influenced my approach to future projects, especially integrating green and wood. For example, the National Stadium in Tokyo will be rich in vegetation, evoking a feeling of forest in the city."
Kuma and Uchiyama revamped the existing space while adding 3.4 acres of usable space to the 9.1-acre property. The Garden at Washington Park features a water garden with cascading ponds while the Village places Japan's monzenmachi, the iconic gate-front towns found in most sacred shrines and temples.
New buildings constructed at the Garden includes the Jordan Schnitzer Japanese Arts Learning Center which will house new gallery spaces, a multi-purpose classroom, the Garden gift store and the Vollum Library, a comprehensive resource on Japanese gardening and related arts. Also, a Garden House is built for visitors to learn about horticulture, and the Umami Café for travelers to freshen up with their afternoon teas.
Perhaps one of the structures highlighted in the garden is the medieval Castle Wall at the west end of the Cultural Village. While most five of the Portland Japanese Garden remains, the team have added three more Japanese-themed landscapes in the property: the Entry garden, Tsubo-niwa, and the Ellie M. Hill Bonsai Terrace. Additionally, a Bill de Weese chabana garden has been created to grow flowers for the village's tea ceremony -- the first of its kind in America.
Another project the Portland Japanese Garden is eyeing is the construction of the International Institute for Japanese Garden Arts & Culture to commence on 2018. It will serve as a center for learning Japanese gardening techniques, tea ceremonies and calligraphy.
Meanwhile, the garden will have upcoming art exhibitions all year round in celebration of the Cultural Village's opening. Among the art shows to be launched are the Hosokawa Morihiro: The Art of Life, A Rebirth in Clay in spring, KABUKI: A Revolution in Color and Design in summer, and Mirrors of the Mind: The Noh Masks of Otsuki Koukun during the fall.
The Portland Japanese Garden has been in the city for more than 50 years and has garnered more than 350,000 guests per year to its unique visitor's experience.