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Japan Institute

Kengo Kuma_Portland Japanese Garden

A New Path for Portland Japanese Garden

2020 was a year that tested our individual and collective capacity for distressing news which is why we are so happy to start 2021 announcing a new path for Portland Japanese Garden.  

We call it Japan Institute. 

What is Japan Institute? 

Japan Institute is being created in order to share and expand programs of Portland Japanese Garden more broadly around the world, expand international partnerships, and continue to engage diverse people in shared experiences and conversations about peace, beauty, and connection of nature.  

Innovative programs, global collaborations, and experiential education for youth and adults are the hallmarks of Japan Institute, organized around three centers:

The core of these three centers is the Garden itself, informing and responding to the programs around it.  

In reality, the foundation of Japan Institute already exists at Portland Japanese Garden. Cultural programming like festivals and art exhibitions will continue happening as part of the Global Center for Culture and Art. We will continue to convene and host global audiences to explore ideas critical to modern life informed by the ideals of Japanese gardens, arts, and culture under the umbrella of the International Exchange Forum. And our International Japanese Garden Training Center will continue its series of educational programs such as the Waza To Kokoro seminar and the popular Garden Workshop series. 

With this foundation, Japan Institute can be best understood as the next evolution of Portland Japanese Garden. It will create a more inclusive and expansive canopy allowing more of Japan’s greatest gifts to be explored, more robustly, with more people around the world. The Herman gift, paid over several years, will act as start-up funding with the goal of formally launching Japan Institute in 2022. 

The Path Ahead 

Portland Japanese Garden is in the early process of acquiring and developing a nearby site as the headquarters for The Japan Institute with additional workshop, classroom, lecture hall, and nursery space to accommodate the expanding Japan Institute programs which exceed the capacity of Portland Japanese Garden’s 12.5-acre campus, allowing the Garden itself to remain a place of peaceful connection to nature and beauty. 

This 3.65-acre satellite “campus” is a property located in Forest Park in NW Portland, just 3 miles from the Garden. It is a beautiful setting with buildings designed by one of Oregon’s most prolific architects, A.E. Doyle. The purchase of the property is made possible by numerous generous Garden donors and fundraising is still ongoing.

Through this wide variety of art, culture, and education programs and partnerships, The Japan Institute will create meaningful experiences of personal renewal and shared experiences of beauty, nature, and peace for diverse audiences. These experiences will open hearts and minds for important conversations about issues critical to our future on this shared earth – peace among ourselves, harmony with nature, and supporting the creativity and blossoming of the human spirit.