Photograph © John A. Hall, 2010



When my husband and I moved to Oregon after living in Japan for twelve years, one of the things we missed most was the beauty and tranquility of Japanese gardens. In 1993, we started Katsura Press, naming it after Katsura Imperial Detached Villa, a masterpiece of Japanese gardening. The strolling garden is endlessly fascinating with its central pond, teahouses, bridges, lanterns, and perfectly placed stones. Katsura is our favorite place in Kyoto. Though we’ve visited nearly a dozen times, we always discover something new. One of my favorite places is the old shoin (drawing room or study), which features a moon-viewing platform where the royal family gazed at the reflection of the moon in the pond and composed poetry.



Katsura (cercidiphyllum japonicum) is also the name of a deciduous
tree native to China and Japan. It also thrives in the Pacific Northwest.
In autumn, its dark green leaves turn from yellow to scarlet, and release a
sweet aroma like brown sugar. I was drawn to this tree for its heart-shaped
leaves and multiple trunks—like me, with one foot in Japan and another in
North America.