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A Crown Jewel of the City: Portland Japanese Garden is a Gateway to Serenity and Beauty

Guests take in the Heavenly Falls. Photo by Portland Japanese Garden.

Often remarked upon for a natural splendor that makes it stand out among other major cities in the U.S., Portland has an incredible breadth and depth of green spaces. For Portlanders, the city’s vibrant arts, culture, food and craft beverage experiences are excellently paired with frequent visits to these spaces that are a gateway to the beauty of nature.  

Portland Japanese Garden stands as a crown jewel of its home city. Lauded as the most authentic Japanese garden outside of Japan, it is a space of great civic pride. Because it is in perpetual evolution, the Garden is best enjoyed through multiple visits, something its members can attest to. 

For many of its members, the nonprofit organization has become a second home — a comforting part of the city to frequent and a highlight on the itinerary of visiting friends and family. There are any number of reasons why individuals purchase memberships:  

  • Unlimited free admission 
  • Special hours every morning the Garden is open (8 – 10 a.m.) 
  • Access to exclusive events, cultural festivals and workshops 
  • Discounts on items at the Gift Shop and with our community partners  

Many purchase memberships because the Garden has demonstrated it is a place for all people from all walks of life, as exemplified by a Moon Bridge Membership that allows those on public-income related assistance to have the same benefits afforded to all basic membership levels.

Forest Bathing for our Health 

Forest bathing in Portland Japanese Garden’s Natural Garden. Photo by Tyler Quinn.

There is a growing amount of research that indicates that time spent in nature has a positive impact on physical and mental health. In the heart of a Pacific Northwest forest, alongside meandering streams and amid cool breezes, a stroll through Portland Japanese Garden relieves the pressures of everyday life. Even better, members can visit in the morning before the public arrives, allowing for a calmer forest bathing experience.  

The Pride of Portland 

The Moon Bridge. Photo by Roman Johnston.

Portland Japanese Garden is often referenced as “more than a garden.” Beyond the beauty and serenity of its spaces, the Garden is a cultural institution that offers festival celebrations, workshops in traditional Japanese creative endeavors and art exhibitions. Members of the Garden receive exclusive access to these culturally immersive opportunities.  

After World War II had concluded and incarcerated Japanese and Japanese Americans had been released from their imprisonment, Portland stood at a crossroads. A grassroots effort by Portland civic leaders made their case for a Japanese friendship garden to help rebuild connections between Oregon and Japan. Though they faced resistance from some determined to hold onto their hatred, these individuals were undeterred. Portland Japanese Garden was born in 1963, and with it, a space for Oregonians to be proud of. 

Inspiring Harmony and Peace 

Photo by James Florio.
Portland Japanese Garden’s Cultural Village. Photo by James Florio.

Portland Japanese Garden often asks its guests to “visit often.” Aside from a constantly evolving and changing landscape reflective of the tapestry of the four seasons, time spent here is restorative for mind and body, inspiring harmony and peace that begins within and extends to others. Becoming a member can make this kind of self-care a part of one’s everyday life

About Portland Japanese Garden 

View of the Tea Garden in late spring in the Portland Japanese Garden
The Tea Garden. Photo by Mike Centioli.

Portland Japanese Garden sits nestled in the hills of Portland, Oregon’s iconic Washington Park, overlooking the city and providing a tranquil, urban oasis for locals and travelers alike. Designed in 1963, it encompasses 12 acres with eight separate garden styles, and includes an authentic Japanese Tea House, meandering streams, intimate walkways and a spectacular view of Mt. Hood. This is a place to discard worldly thoughts and concerns and see oneself as a small but integral part of the universe.