Portland Japanese Garden Hiking – A Great Tourist Attraction!

Japanese Garden of Portland is one of the most beautiful parks in the city. The Park is very much similar to the parks of Japan, maybe that’s one of the reasons why it is called the ‘Japanese Park’. It is more of a traditional park, spread over 12 acres of land. There are multiple ponds, waterfalls, and streams in the Natural Garden. All plants here grow in their natural state, including trees, shrubs, ferns, and mosses.

Portland and Sapporo became sister cities in 1958. The Japanese garden was created by Portland business leaders and government officials as a result of this. In Washington Park, the Japanese Garden occupies a forested hillside once home to Portland’s zoo. It moved to its current location in 1959 from its original location. In 1967, the public was allowed to enjoy the new garden. The design had begun in 1963.

This Park today is one of the great tourist attractions in Portland. There are eight different gardens in the park representing different styles of Japanese gardening. There are essential features like stones, water, and plants in all of the gardens.

What to Do at Portland Japanese Garden?

Japanese park has a lot to offer its visitors. If you’re planning for a visit to Portland’s Japanese Garden, here are a few things you definitely should not be missing.

A visit to:

  1. Strolling Pond Garden
  2. Natural Garden
  3. Sand and Stone Garden
  4. Flat Garden
  5. The Tea Garden
  6. Entry Garden
  7. Ellie M. Hill Bonsai
  8. Tsubo-Niwa

What to Do at Portland Japanese Garden

1. Strolling Pond Garden

The Strolling Pond Garden contains multiple areas and is the largest. The upper and lower ponds are connected by a creek that flows under a moon bridge. A view of Heavenly Falls can be seen from the lower pond, which has many koi. The lantern is a 100-year-old replica, a gift from Portland’s sister city of Sapporo, with stones shaped like the Hokkaido Island and red stones to symbolize Sapporo’s city.

2. Natural Garden

Multiple streams, waterfalls, and ponds are part of the Natural Garden. Branches, shrubs, ferns, and mosses can all be found in their natural state. The structure, water, and plants reflect the philosophies of Shinto, Buddhism, and Taoism, creating unique, peaceful surroundings.

3. Sand and Stone Garden

There are weathered stones in the Sand and Stone Garden, which are surrounded by rippled sands that evoke the ocean. The tranquil rake pattern is frequently found in Japanese rock gardens (karesansui).

4. Flat Garden

The Flat Garden (hira-Niwa) illustrates how Japanese gardens have evolved into the karesansui style of the dry landscape over the centuries. There is a pavilion here that evokes the Kamakura period architectural style, and it is typical of a daimyo (feudal lord)’s villa garden. It was purposefully designed to showcase the distinctive beauty of each season.

Portland Japanese Garden - Flat Garden

5. The Tea Garden

There are few places as peaceful for quiet reflection on nature and harmony as the tea garden. Steppingstones located carefully and lined with lanterns lead to a rustic tea house in the rustic garden. A waiting area outside and a garden surrounding the authentic tea house are two areas dedicated to the tea ceremony at the Tea Garden. The Tea House is named Kashintei, which means “Flower-Heart Room”.

6. Entry Garden

An array of cascading ponds greets visitors at the Entry Garden. On the hillside, firs and cedars grow naturally under the shade of tall trees. The garden continues along a zigzagged path.

7. Ellie M. Hill Bonsai

This terrace showcases seasonal bonsais from the Garden’s collection in a beautiful setting. Visits to the Garden provide visitors with the chance to see bonsai examples from around the region and in Portland.

8. Tsubo-Niwa

Tsubo-Niwa - Portland Japanese Garden

Tsubo-Niwa is the style of modern Japanese gardens. Despite its small size, this garden incorporates all of the essential elements of a Japanese garden: stone, water, and plants in a way that emphasizes nature as the centerpiece of the Cultural Village.

What plants go in the Portland Japanese garden?

There are hundreds of different varieties of plants that grow in the Portland Japanese Garden. Especially prominent are evergreen trees and shrubs, as well as those with spectacular autumn foliage of delicate spring blooms. These larger plants provide shade for mosses and ferns as well.

Portland Japanese Garden – Things that Everyone Loves About This Garden

Here are some great things about the Japanese Garden that the locals and tourists love about it.

  1. The Entrance
  2. The courtyard
  3. The inside of garden areas
  4. The tea houses

Portland Japanese Garden – Things that Everyone Loves About This Garden

1. The Entrance

The entrance of the park isn’t like the usual parks. It is below the actual garden, and you’ll have to walk up to the amazing and spectacular garden views. It is totally worth experiencing a walk as there are trees and grass on both sides of this hiking track that takes you up. Also, if you really don’t want to walk up to the gardens, there is a free shuttle to go up there as well. You can take either of the two ways, as per your convenience.

2. The Courtyard

The courtyard of the garden is where you find yourself when you enter it. Ajinomoto Café, the gift shop, and the shuttle stop are located here. You can buy yourself something from the cafe and look at the beautiful views around.

3. The Inside of the Garden Areas

There are further gardens within the Japanese Garden itself. You keep walking and you keep exploring new and unique gardens, all different in their own patterns. There are beautiful views inside of every garden you move across.

4. The Tea Houses

The Tea House is the most famous spot in the Tea Garden. It is officially named “Kashintei which means Flower-Heart Room”. Aside from its authenticity, the Tea House has other unusual features, such as walls of sliding papered doors, a slate floor surrounding the inside, and walls of sliding doors on the outside. Visitors to this tea ceremony are welcomed and invited to walk the inner garden path by the tea ceremony host.

Portland Japanese Garden O-Tsukimi – The Moon Viewing Festival

Japanese festival O-Tsukimi is a very popular festival that is celebrated to honor the full moon during the autumn season. The full moon is regarded as a sacred object for this festival, and the ritual is dedicated to enjoying its beauty and viewing its fullness.

A candle-lit tea ceremony and elegant live music are among the highlights of this annual event at the Garden. Other highlights include seasonal foods served by Bamboo Sushi, live music in the Pavilion Gallery, and samples of tea and sake. On the Pavilion Veranda and Overlook of the Garden, guests are invited to watch as the full moon rises above this unique view of the city.

If you want to participate and want to know the details of the event, do visit Here.

Best Time to Visit Portland Japanese Garden

Best Time to Visit Portland Japanese Garden

Portland Japanese Garden is designed and created to display the beauty of nature to its fullest in any season. It would be an injustice to highlight just one specific season to adore the beauty of Portland Japanese Garden. Every season, or more specifically, every day in the garden is beautiful. There is greenery everywhere around, the waters and the stone structures which make your visit very well spent.

Just because of the fact that the garden is full of greenery and flowers, Spring is THE MOST beautiful season. This is the time of the year when flowers are in full bloom, the surrounding colors are super vibrant and unique, the grass is green to its fullest, and everything seems fresh and breathtakingly beautiful. The flowing waters add a whole different vibe to the entire scene.

How long does it take to see the Japanese Garden in Portland?

In general, it takes one to two hours to take a complete tour of the Japanese Garden. The rest depends on the visitor. It may take longer if they’re exploring every corner of the garden. We would recommend you, take your time and explore the whole garden and appreciate the beauties of nature.

Portland Japanese Garden Parking

Around the Japanese Garden, there are a number of parking spaces. The tennis courts are just across the street, the Rose Gardens are just a few steps away, or guests can park in ‘97205 SW Washington’ Way.

It would be even better if you opt for public transportation. Public transit is a hassle-free way to get around the city. You can use the TriMet bus #63 that connects to the station at the Providence Park and Oregon Zoo. You can also take the free park shuttle between April and October if you are visiting the park during these months. It also connects other park attractions with Washington Park MAX station.

Portland Japanese Garden – Price for the Entry/Admission Fee

Portland Japanese Garden – Price for the Entry/Admission Fee

For anyone who might be wondering, “Is the Portland Japanese Garden free?”. Here’s the answer. Because of the unique designs and so many things to explore in the Japanese Garden, it is not entirely free for everyone. You would have to pay to explore the beauty of the Garden.

Here is how much you would have to pay.

  • For ages 5 and younger, admission is free.
  • But for adults, the cost is $16.95.
  • The youngsters aging from 6 to 17 must pay $11.50
  • And Student ID holders are charged $13.50.

In case you are not willing to spend your dollars in a visit to a garden, you may spend your time at the International Rose Garden which is right next to the Portland Japanese Garden. This Park is totally free.

Our Verdict

Portland Japanese Garden is home to large varieties of plants, designed in spectacularly unique ways. It is one of the greatest tourist attractions in Portland and definitely the BEST garden to be known. There are several other gardens to visit just within the huge Japanese Garden.

If you’re planning a visit to Portland’s Japanese Park, make sure you take a whole day out and explore the garden. Do not miss out on the Tea Garden to have an amazing tea ceremony!

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