Nestled in the scenic west hills of Portland, Oregon you will find what is proclaimed to be one of the most authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan. Founded in 1963 as a symbol of healing between the two World War II adversaries, the Portland Japanese Garden (http://japanesegarden.com/ ) is 5.5. acres of peace, harmony and tranquility achieved through the use of gorgeous plants, trees, water features and other Japanese inspired scenery.
The garden was designed by Professor Takuma Tono, one of the most important Japanese landscape architects of his time. The garden was dedicated and design began in 1963, and in 1967 the garden opened to the public. To this day, it is operated by a private non-profit corporation, the Japanese Garden Society of Oregon, which leased the site from the city in the early 1960s.
The Japanese garden is a living reflection of the long history and traditional culture of Japan. There are three essential elements used to create the garden: stone, the “bones” of the landscape; water, the life-giving force; and plants, the tapestry of the four seasons. Influenced by Shinto, Buddhist, and Taoist philosophies, there is always “something more” in these compositions of stone, water, and plants than meets the eye. A traditional Japanese garden normally takes hundreds of years to evolve and mature, but the Portland Japanese Garden evolved much more quickly; fusion of hurried western style and stately eastern expression.
The Portland Japanese Garden has five major sub-gardens:
• The Strolling Pond Garden is the largest and contains multiple areas. In one, rocks built into the path are arranged as the Big Dipper constellation. There is a 100 year-old five-tiered pagoda lantern, a gift from Portland’s sister city of Sapporo with ornamental rocks forming the shape of Hokkaido island and a red stone for Sapporo. Several ornate or whimsical bridges cross the creeks between ponds. There is also a handmade moon bridge.
• The Natural Garden has multiple ponds, waterfalls, and streams. Trees, shrubs, ferns, and mosses grow in their natural state.
• The Sand and Stone Garden contains weathered stones rising from rippled sand suggestive of the ocean. The tranquil rake patterns are often present in karesansui (Japanese rock gardens).
• The Flat Garden is typical of urban garden design. Raked white sand represents water and vividly contrasts with lawn, moss, evergreens, and azaleas.
• The Tea Garden has two areas, each devoted to enhancing the tea ceremony: an outer waiting area and an inner garden surrounding the authentic tea house, constructed in Japan by Kajima Construction Company and assembled onsite in 1968.
There is a Garden Pavilion which was built in 1980 in Japanese style by local builders. It has a tiled roof, wooden verandas, and Shoji sliding doors. It is the center of several Japanese cultural festivals, art exhibitions, and other events.
Throughout the year, the garden hosts special events and different exhibits. Among the most popular of these is the autumn moon-viewing nights, which feature live music, tea and sake service and seasonal Japanese foods under the illuminated sky. There is a Japanese Garden gift shop where you can find unique gifts.
The garden is open to visitors seven days a week year-round, closing only on Thanksgiving and Christmas. The cost of admission is as follows:
• $9.50 Adult
• $7.75 Senior (62+)
• $7.75 College Student (w/ID)
• $6.75 Youth (6-17)
• Children 5 and under free
Guided tours are included with cost of admission.
611 SW Kingston Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97205