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Japanese Garden Tips (20)

Japanese Garden

Located within Washington Park is this beautiful garden. This garden is considered one of the most authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan, and I can see why.

Boosting some of the best views of Portland and Mt. Hood these gardens are surrounded by tall evergreen trees with lush greenery. There is also a waterfall with koi in the pond, several smaller ponds, an authentic Japanese home, traditional tea house, and the stone gardens.

The visit can take as much as 2 hours, as little as 45 min.

The entrance price is $8.00 per adult. There is a reduced price for for children/students/seniors, but I didn't notice that price.

Gypsystravels's Profile Photo
Sep 11, 2006

Japanese Gardens

I went to the Japanese Gardens. They were very nice and quite worth seeing. But at $8 each to get in for something that was at most 45 minutes I don't think I'll be going back. That said everyone should spend one time here. Its quite peaceful and quiet. A good time to just spend with your thoughts or someone special.

cjg1's Profile Photo
Sep 11, 2006

Japanese Garden (Washington Park)

The Portland Japanese Garden is located on a hill overlooking the city, inside Washington Park near the Rose Garden (the actual Rose Garden, not the big concrete arena on the east side of the river). While much of the facility is in forest, the garen includes one of the famous photo locations in Portland, as for decades any time you would look up Portland, Oregon in the encyclopedia or other location the photo of the city would be of the Rose Garden overlooking the city, from a location near the Rose Garden. The most popular of those locations overlooking the Rose Garden is located inside the Japanese Garden.

As you can see in the first photo, the city view from here is today still very popular with photographers and tourists.

As much as possible, the garden is modeled after a true Japanese garden, and even Japanese visitors marvel at how authentic it is made. Portland's sister city in Japan has a bit of credit to take for that, as well.

Water features, including ponds, fountains, a Japanese bird chaser (water powered noise maker) and waterfalls are scattered through the garden. There is a house modeled after a Shinto temple which sometimes features special art shows and art sales. Near the house there is a Japanese style rock garden.

Photo 2 shows one of the ponds in the facility, and photo 5 shows people on one of the stone walkways watching the fish in the pond.

Watch your step!: many of the pathways are irregular genuite stone pathways, just as are found in Japan, and as such are not what the average American is used to having in such a public facility.

The management of the facility says "the Portland Japanese Garden requires the location credit "Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR" in all uses of Garden photos in print, on the web, in broadcast, and in any other public medium," and thus you will notice all of my photos carry this caption.

The gift shop features a number of "Japanese" type items, but unfortunately they are mostly Chinese made imitations.

NOTES: There is a $2 fee for tripods, and there is a strict photography policy (including no potrait photography - for details see their web site, below).

This part of Washington Park has a lot of popular attractions, including the Rose Garden, the Japanese Garden and several playgrounds, plus an outdoor theatre that occasionally sees concerts. If you are physically able to do so, I highly recommed taking TriMet bus route #63 up the hill. If it is a nice day, you will most likely not find any parking places anywhere near the Japanese Garden.

Unfortunately, bus route #63 only operates on a sporadic timetable now - it was cut back recently, and possibly will not be reinstated. There is talk of cutting the route completely. However, during the peak tourist season, there is also a "Washington Park Shutte" bus that operates from the Washington Park MAX station to the Rose Garden, and is as close as you will get to the Japanese Garden by public transit.

If you don't mind walking, you can walk from the Goose Hollow MAX station as well. Go up the hill on Jefferson Street (the street MAX runs on, and goes under the arch bridge). As the road starts to go around the curve to the left, enter Washington Park (continue going straight on a road that is now disused). You can then weave up the side of the hill on this old road. Follow the signs to the Rose Garden. Once in the Rose Garden, continue climbing to get to the Tennis Courts. From the Tennis Courts, cross the street and small parking area and the entrance road to the Japanese Garden is right there. As the garden is located on the ridge above the Rose Garden, there is a Japanese Garden shuttle van that operates on peak weekends to take visitors the extra way to the entrance, but if you are physically able to do so I suggest taking the pathway.

glabah's Profile Photo
Aug 17, 2009

The Japanese Garden

The Japanese Gardens are located in Portland's west hills, west of the city centre. Set in 5 and a half acres, the gardens feature five garden styles: Tea Garden, Strolling Pond Garden, Natural Garden, Sand and Stone Garden and Flat Garden The Gardens were designed by Professor Takuma Tono in 1963.

I have never been to a Japanese Garden before, and can only say that I found this garden to be delightful. At the time I didn't know that I would be visiting another Japanese Garden elsewhere, so I couldn't compare this one with any other - at the time. All I can safely say is that not all Japanese Gardens are the same, for obvious reasons, one being the geographical location, and climate.

Geoff_Wright's Profile Photo
Feb 06, 2004
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The japanese Garden

Although it was extremely hot, the Garden was refreshingly cool, due mainly to the tall pine trees, and the thick foliage and ground cover plants, which were watered every other day (soaked would be a better way of putting it!).

You will find more photos of the Garden in my Travelogue (to follow soon)

The garden is open between 10 am and 4 pm Oct - march, and 110 am and 7 pm from April 1st to September 30th. On Mondays they open at midday all year.

Admission prices:

Adult: $6.50
Seniors (62+) $5.00
Children $4.00
Under fives - Free

Geoff_Wright's Profile Photo
Feb 06, 2004

Japanese Garden

As much as I dislike paying a fee to enter a garden, this one is worth it. It's a breathtaking mixture of water, delicate architecture, and intricate landscaping. It was designed in the early 1960s by Professor Takuma Tono. And is billed as "one of the most authentic Japanese Gardens outside of Japan."

This Garden is perfect for a quiet afternoon stroll or a photography lesson. If you're ever in Portland, it's definitely worth checking out.

shellybelly567's Profile Photo
Feb 14, 2004

60 MIN at the Portland Japanese Garden

The Portland Japanese Garden is a traditional Japanese garden occupying 5.5 acres located within Washington Park in the west hills of Portland, Oregon, USA.
The garden was designed by Professor Takuma Tono beginning in 1963, though the garden opened to the public in 1967. In a study conducted by the Journal of Japanese Gardening, it was ranked first out of 300 public Japanese gardens outside of Japan and considered to be one of the most authentic.
According to traditional design, the garden combines three elements which represent the earth: stone represents mountains and islands for strength and support, water is the center and represents purity, and plants grace it with texture, color and growth.

View the website included in this tip for official garden and visitor information.

The pictures for this Travel Tip were taken on August 25th, 2007 - over this travelers birthday weekend. It was a pleasure to stroll the five major sub-areas which compose Portland’s Japanese garden and among the highlights of this experience are the changing views, including picturesque panoramas of Portland’s city center.

Exploration of this garden is for everyone and can serve as a cheerful stopping point on a busy sightseeing agenda in Portland. In addition to these gardens, Washington Park also boasts some of Portland’s favorite destinations, such as: Oregon Zoo, Portland Children’s Museum, Oregon Vietnam Memorial, Hoyt Arboretum, and the acclaimed International Rose Test Garden.

The Portland Japanese garden receives a great recommendation, for cultural exposure, beauty, and calming environs with something to cause everyone to smile.
Backpacker Alert: Washington Park including the Japanese Garden is the perfect low-cost offering for budget travelers. Even if the PJG $8 admission is out of budget, don’t miss the other exploits of Washington Park, with several low or no-cost travel and entertainment options.

conciusgardener's Profile Photo
Aug 28, 2007

Beautiful Japanese Garden!

The Japenese Garden in Portland is known to be very of the most authentic outside of Japan! Its pretty good sized, about 5 acres. You could easily pop in and walk around for 30 minutes..but it is a place best enjoyed slowly and calmly. A perfect place for contemplation, fresh air and rejuvination! It can be a little crowded on weekends, especially if the weather is good. I visited the other day, when the weather was overcast with a light sprinkling of rain...I only saw 4-5 other people and was able to realy enjoy the beauty! Please respect the smoking, no food/drink, no pets and NO CELL that others may enjoy the gardens!

TrvlnGrrl's Profile Photo
Feb 26, 2007

Top 5 Portland Writers

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"If it's tourist season, can we shoot them?"
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Japanese garden

Tucked away above the International Rose Test Garden- and a painful walk for me considering we'd summited Hood the following day- is the strikingly beautiful Japanese Garden. We paid the $8 admission fee and entered the tranquil and zen like garden.

The Japanese Garden encompasses 5 acres and contains 5 separate garden styles, including the sand and stone gardens the ceremonial teahouse and pavilion where weddings and special events are held. You receive a map at the admission booth which shows where each garden is located and gives a brief description of what you will find in the garden as well as its significance.

The Japanese Garden Society, which owns and operates the garden, does an excellent job in making it a place of tranquility. Eating, drinking, talking on cell phones and smoking are prohibited. The society also has a strict policy on using photographs taken in the gardens and posting them on the web. So if you want to copy and use my photos for any reason, which I can't imagine since they're not that great, be sure to use the language in the photo caption.

The garden path meanders up and down through the various "scenes". The pavilion can be found near the top, and boasts an incredible view of Mount Hood.

goingsolo's Profile Photo
Jun 03, 2007

The Perfect Place for Photos!

The Japanese Gardens are more beautiful than any photo can capture. When you are there you forget you are sitting above Portland and feel as though you have been transported into Japan.

The minute you walk through the main gates you feel calmer, you speak quieter and you walk slower. There are several pathways throughout the gardens and most are non directional. After visiting a couple of times you will find a direction that you enjoy best.

There are some pathways that are wide and easily acceptable for a wheelchair but the majority of the walkways are best visited without the help of a chair or walker. Of course I do not use either so I may be off the mark here.

There are some walkways that are very narrow and other that are steep so watch your footing. Fortunately someone was thinking and there are several opportunities to sit and take in the scenery along all the paths if your legs get tired.

If bringing children, PLEASE don’t let them run. This really is a great place to just reflect and it’s hard to do so when you have kids running back and forth past you.

During the summer months (until September) the tea house opens and you can see the traditional tea ceremony on the third Saturday of each month. It is wonderful to view and you can ask questions. For more information on the demonstration times please visit the website link below.

There are several types of gardens throughout. You will see sand and stone, pond with Koi, natural with trees and shrubs and others. I like the natural settings but also enjoy sitting at the large sand and stone garden. Although the Japanese Gardens don’t take up city blocks, there is a lot to see in the small patch that sits in the NW Hills.

For those looking for a special trinket there is a small gift shop located to the right after you enter the Gardens. However you can also order some items off their website.

Click HERE for a few photos I took while visiting the Japanese Gardens.

deWilde's Profile Photo
Aug 15, 2005


I am so thankful that I was child free when I came to visit here. I don't think I would have been able to enjoy these wonderful gardens if Patrick had come here. It's not really a kid friendly activity in my opinion. The Japanese Gardens are a great place to stroll along and get lost in your thoughts. It takes most people a little less than an hour to tour the entire garden, but if you are like me and you snap picture of just about everything, it's take you a bit longer. The gardens are open year round, 7 days a week. The hours of operation vary according to the season but are almost always open by 10:00 AM, except on Mondays when they open at noon. Admission to the gardens is $8.00 for and adult and $5.25 for children age 6 and older, younger children are free. Tours are usually offered at 10:45, 1:00 and 2:30, the Monday scheule is different with the first tour starting at 1:00. There are 5 distinct area of the garden, The Tea Gardens, The Flat Garden, The Strolling Pond Garden, The Sand and Stone Garden and The Natural Garden. Each one is extremely beautiful and sure to be pleasing to the eyes.

moiraistyx's Profile Photo
Oct 12, 2006

Serenity Now

The Japanese Garden in Washington Park is an oasis of peace - at least if you wear earplugs. It's hard not to hear the announcements from the train station or cars along the adjacent road. However, the Japanese Garden itself, supposedly the most authentic outside of Japan, manage to instill relaxation throughout its five formal gardens.

My favorite was the Zen-inspired Sand and Stone Garden - no plants, just undulating gravel and upright rocks. Part of me wanted to jump in and mess up the carefully raked "waves" of sand, but another part - the one that won - sat calmly and peacefully.

Adult admission: $6.50. Look for a dollar-off coupon on the back of their brochure.

cruisingbug's Profile Photo
Aug 03, 2004

Things To Do Near Japanese Garden

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Getting to Japanese Garden


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  • Sunday 10:00 to 19:00
  • Monday 12:00 to 19:00
  • Tuesday 10:00 to 19:00
  • Wednesday 10:00 to 19:00
  • Thursday 10:00 to 19:00
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