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Hard-to-Find Japanese Wares Available at Portland Japanese Garden’s Behind the Shoji Summer Marketplace

Behind the Shoji in 2019. Photo by Jonathan Ley.

PORTLAND, Ore. – June 26, 2023 – Behind the Shoji, opening Saturday, 7/1 and running through Monday, 9/4 in Portland Japanese Garden’s Pavilion Gallery, is one of the Garden’s most beloved summer traditions. An annual show and sale of Japanese and Japanese-inspired wares, visitors can peruse and purchase from a variety of curated items often unavailable short of a visit to Japan itself. What makes this elevated and distinctive shopping experience stand out is the level of care and the miles traveled that go into determining which items will be available.

Garden staff travel to Japan yearly to attend the Tokyo International Gift Show and meet with craftspeople in their studios and stores to curate the unique items for Behind the Shoji. In doing so, this helps the Garden not only provide support to the livelihoods of craftspeople, but also offer Garden visitors a unique product selection that helps create a greater understanding of Japanese culture.

Some of the wares for sale: Hama Koma, wooden tops made with potter’s wheel techniques from Iroiro Hama Koma. (Photo: Iroio Hama Koma); Shibori-zome, Japanese tie-dye, from Kyoto craftsman Kiyoe Masao. (Photo: Kiyoe Masao); Mizuno, a kokeshi doll, from Fujikawa Koegi. (Photo: Fujikawa Koegi); Japan wax candles from Kawagoe-based company Haze. (Photo: Haze); Handcrafted Japanese kitchen knives from Seisuke Knife. (Photo: Seisuke Knife); Hi-ogi, wooden fans, from Yamani. (Photo: Yamani).

One craftsman of note whose wares will be on sale includes Masao Kiyoe. Kiyoe is a first-generation craftsman of shibori-zome (Japanese tie-dye). Kiyoe creates magnificent noren (curtains) and tapestries by extracting different colors from flowers, fruits, vegetables, and even insects to dye fabrics. These natural sources create something warmer than a chemical dye is capable of. Joining Kiyoe’s noren and tapestries will be kokeshi (wooden dolls) from Fujikawa Koegi. This Gunma Prefecture-located company is led by Chairman Shoei Fujikawa, a master of the medium who has been crafting dolls since 1959.

Behind the Shoji headlines a summer filled with many exciting events, including:

  • Tanabata, the Star Festival on Sunday, 7/2 | One of the five seasonal festivals celebrated in Japan since the 8th century, the Star Festival at Portland Japanese Garden will feature musical performances by Takohachi Q Ensemble (taiko drums, shinobue flute), storytelling of the Tanabata folk legend, and wish writing, in which visitors can write a wish and add it to the colorful display of tanzaku (wish strips) on bamboo in the Garden’s Crumpacker Bamboo Allee.
  • SoundsTruck NW Summer Concert on Wednesday, 7/5 | SoundsTruck NW is the region’s premier mobile music venue that brings live ensemble music and family-oriented programming into neighborhoods, nature, and institutions. Taking place at a time when the verdant landscape of Portland Japanese Garden basks in the golden hue of approaching sunset, attendees will have the opportunity to enjoy an alluring combination of flutes, piano, and percussion in a unique arrangement from GRAMMY-nominated composer Andy Akiho.
  • Seasonal Blooms of Irises | One of the horticultural highlights of Portland Japanese Garden in summer are the blooming of irises alongside the Zig-Zag Bridge. While every year is different, the Garden’s irises tend to bloom in late June, just as it officially becomes summer. To help guests plan their visit to see these stately flowers, Portland Japanese Garden has created an Iris Bloom Watch page that will be updated regularly until their blooms conclude.
Two young visitors to Portland Japanese Garden hold wishes on bamboo sticks during a Tanabata festival celebration. Photo by Jonathan Ley.

More Information



  • Adult: $21.95
  • Senior (65+): $18.95
  • Student (with ID): $17.95
  • Youth (6-17): $15.95
  • Child (5 and under): Free
  • Members: Free

Visual Assets: 

Images can be found in this Dropbox folder. Photographer name is in the file name. Please stylize the credit as “Courtesy of Portland Japanese Garden, photo by [fill in name].”  If no photographer is listed, “Courtesy of Portland Japanese Garden” will suffice.

Media Contact: 

Will Lerner | Communications Specialist | (503) 542-9351 | [email protected]  

About Portland Japanese Garden:   

Portland Japanese Garden is a nonprofit organization originally founded in 1963 as a place for cross-cultural understanding following World War II. A hallmark in the City of Portland, the Garden was founded on the ideals of peace and mutual understanding between peoples and cultures. Portland Japanese Garden is considered the most authentic Japanese garden outside of Japan and the foremost Japanese cultural organization in North America.