PORTLAND, Ore —
Are you craving some extra beauty and calm in your life these days? If so, this is great news: the Portland Japanese Garden is back open.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the garden closed back on March 19. But now it's back open, and for the most part it's still the same serene, relaxing place you remember.
The garden opened to members on Wednesday, and on Thursday, it opened to the public.
“I don’t know about you, but I think a lot of people are wanting to get outside and be in nature and do a little bit of forest bathing here," said Erica Heartquist, Communication Manager. "And Portland Japanese Garden is the perfect place to do it. And what a great place to come to just let all your five senses experience being here. The koi miss the public, everyone is excited to have the guests back here at the garden."
There are only a few changes you'll notice when you come back.
"The garden is now a in one-way form, so there’s arrows," said Heartquist. "It’s one-way, very directional, and that’s intentional because we don't want, you know, people to crowd, and we want them social distancing, but we want folks to still be able to be enjoy it."
Guests do need to wear a mask or face covering, and the cafe hasn't opened yet. And if you're planning to visit, you need to buy your ticket online in advance.
“Because we’ve moved to timed ticketing, so every thirty minutes you can buy a time," said Heartquist. "And we do encourage folks to come up until 6:30 [p.m.]; you can buy tickets from 10 a.m. up until 6:30."
The timed ticketing is designed to help with social distancing. And while social distancing might be a somewhat new concept to most of us, there's actually a Japanese phrase that describes it perfectly.
"It’s a Japanese phrase called 'ma' that we like to say; it’s the space between the things. So think of a bonsai tree, right, and everything around that and how it appears spatially... And so we’re asking folks to practice that 'ma.'"
So buy your ticket ahead of time here, and when you get there, don't forget to practice 'ma.'