Portland Japanese Garden welcomes visitors of all abilities, including those assisted by a service animal. While it is our goal to serve all guests equally, we understand some of our pathways don’t allow the opportunity for everyone to experience the Garden to the fullest. Portland Japanese Garden was founded on steep, hilly topography, which was the original site of the Oregon Zoo. In 1959, the Zoo moved and the site’s challenging terrain kept the land unused and vacant until 1963 when the Japanese Garden Society of Oregon was looking for a space to create a friendship garden.
Areas of Portland Japanese Garden are accessible according to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards; however, the entirety of the Garden is not fully ADA accessible. We have made significant improvements to increase accessibility to be inclusive of all abilities and are committed to improving the visitor experience to ensure all guests feel welcome.
ADA Accessible Garden Spaces
- Flat Garden, including an overlook to the Sand and Stone Garden
- Pavilion Gallery, where we host Art Exhibitions
- Cultural Village including Umami Café and the Jordan Schnitzer Japanese Arts Learning Center, which houses the Tanabe Gallery and Gift Shop
We offer a free shuttle bus from the Welcome Center (where you purchase tickets) to our Cultural Village, avoiding some of the steeper terrain in our Garden. We do not have wheelchairs available to borrow or rent at this time, but we can accommodate wheelchairs and collapsed strollers on our ADA accessible shuttle. While this shuttle does not go any further than its passenger drop-off and pick-up location near the Zagunis Castle Wall in our Cultural Village, we do hope it will assist guests who wish to forgo the hilly terrain of our Entry Garden.
Explore Portland Japanese Garden’s history and landscape architecture with a free docent led tour with American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation. These tours are available for individuals (with the cost of general admission) and are for deaf and hard of hearing individuals and their family and friends only. Attendance is limited to 15 people and registration is required prior to the tour. 2024 ASL-interpreted tour dates will be shared soon.
If you are interested in a public tour of the Garden without ASL interpretation, see our public tour page.
Resources for Planning Your Visit
Map of Our Garden Paths
To help plan your visit, we have created a map outlining our Garden paths. This map does not equate ADA accessibility; it is something that we’ve created for guests to assess the mobility levels of all our spaces.
360 View of Garden Spaces
We invite you to explore these 360 photo galleries of our Garden Spaces for a visual experience of our Garden pathways.
Videos: Experience Portland Japanese Garden
A garden is a place that can open our hearts, unfold our emotions, clear our minds, and bring a sense of peace. Portland Japanese Garden awaits you.
“The Garden speaks to all the senses, not just to the mind alone.” – Professor Takuma Tono, Portland Japanese Garden designer
Let your senses guide you into another world.
A tranquil view of Heavenly Falls in the rain at Portland Japanese Garden. Filmed by Travel Oregon in the winter of 2018.
Most of Portland Japanese Garden can be accessible with a stroller, with the exception of the Natural Garden and the Sand and Stone Garden; these garden spaces have narrow pathways and stairs. To avoid our steep and unpaved hike up the Entry Garden, collapsed strollers can be taken up to the Garden on our shuttle. When you visit, please ask a staff member about where strollers can be stored at the Garden.
To help aid in getting to Portland Japanese Garden, an organization called Ride Connection provides information about transportation services in the Portland area. Reach them at rideconnection.org or (503) 226-0700.
Once you are at Portland Japanese Garden, we offer a free shuttle bus from the Welcome Center, where you purchase tickets, to our Cultural Village, avoiding some of the steeper terrain in our Garden. We have two shuttle buses available, one of which is ADA accessible.
At Portland Japanese Garden, we seek to provide the best possible experience for all visitors, including those assisted by a service animal. We are committed to comply with all ADA requirements with regards to service animals. Please note, we do not allow pets in the Garden.
For more information, please review our Portland Japanese Garden Service Animal Policy and Procedure.
We recognize that due to the realities of our terrain, not all visitors may be able to enjoy the entirety of Portland Japanese Garden on wheels. In this case, we provide a discount of $4 off any ticket price for visitors with mobility challenges.