© 2023 | Jefferson Public Radio
Southern Oregon University
1250 Siskiyou Blvd.
Ashland, OR 97520
541.552.6301 | 800.782.6191
a service of Southern Oregon University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Newly renovated Ashland Japanese Garden opens Saturday

A low depth-of-field photo of a stone Japanese lantern. Surrounding it are a variety of plants, bushes and trees.
Ashland Japanese Garden
The garden's designer, Toru Tanaka, brings more than 35 years of experience in landscape design

A unique garden in downtown Ashland’s Lithia Park is reopening this weekend after a two-year renovation. The Ashland Japanese Garden was created in 1916.

The newly renovated Japanese garden will open its doors on Saturday. It went through a dramatic update to create an authentic Japanese garden experience.

The garden was first opened in 1916 as part of the original design for Ashland’s Lithia Park.

Ashland Parks and Recreation Director Michael Black says it’s gone through several iterations.

"This garden has had a lot of care over the years and has been slowly graduating up through the ranks to the point where it is now an authentic Japanese garden," he says.

Black says the garden features several different types of landscapes including a tea garden, bamboo forest, and a sand and stone zen garden.

A man wearing a hi-vis vest cuts bamboo arranged as a fence
Ashland Japanese Garden
Toru Tanaka, designer of the new Ashland Japanese Garden

The new garden was designed by Toru Tanaka, the former director of the Portland Japanese Garden.

“The thing that we want the most is just getting people through the gates; get them to be able to experience what we’ve created here, what Toru Tanaka, the designer, has created, and what we have put here for them to enjoy," Black says. "That’s really what the garden is about.”

As part of the renovation, Black says some of the existing trees were preserved, including Japanese maples planted in the 1980s.

Funding for construction came from a $1.3 million donation in honor of the late Béatrice Marechal, who frequented the park with her husband, according to Black.

The garden will officially reopen this Saturday with live music, self-guided tours and a bonsai exhibit.

After the grand opening, the garden will be open from 7 AM until sunset.

After graduating from Oregon State University, Roman came to JPR as part of the Charles Snowden Program for Excellence in Journalism in 2019. He then joined Delaware Public Media as a Report For America fellow before returning to the west coast.