Japan's Gardens are world-famous and are one of the main draws for tourists to visit Japan. Their stunning cherry blossoms are famous across the world - as is the allure of their tranquil mystic. If one does visit Japan, Kyoto is one of the most famous and historic cities, see here for why so many people are falling in love with Kyoto.

Travel at the best of times is difficult and expensive, and in these days of the Covid-19 pandemic doubly (or triply) so. It just so happens that Portland in Oregon boasts one of the most authentic Japanese Gardens of anywhere in the world outside of Japan.

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About The Portland Japanese Garden

The Japanese Gardens are beautifully tucked into Portland's stunning West Hills above Washington Park (near the International Rose Test Garden). It is a meticulously maintained and kept piece of heaven and even boasts an authentic Japanese tea house. Other trappings from Japan include intimate walkways, meandering streams, and pools filled with fish.

  • Size: 12 Acres
  • Address: SW Kingston Drive, Portland, OR 97201
  • Time Needed: Most Visitors Take One and A Half to Two Hours To Visit The Gardens

When the former Ambassador, Nobuo Matsunaga, of Japan to the United States visited the Portland Japanese Garden he proclaimed it to be "the most beautiful and authentic Japanese garden in the world outside of Japan.

Related: Wondering What To Prepare For A Japan Trip? Here's Where To Start

Purpose Of The Japanese Gardens

It was designed back in 1963 - that is only 18 years after the brutal struggles of World War Two and the disastrous conflicts of the War in the Pacific. It was a conflict that saw atomic bombs rain down on Japan. To visit a postapocalyptic world from a nuclear explosion, see here for how to visit Cherynbol in Ukraine safely.

Wars are horrible and after their horrors have ended it is important to embark on a quest for lasting peace. It is important to heal and undo years of wartime propaganda. The Japanese Gardens are borne out of this desire for a lasting peace between the two belligerents and out of a belief in the power of cultural exchange.

How To Experience The Gardens

The Garden is designed to be a living classroom where one can learn much about the culture of Japan and of botany. See not only the way trees grow but also how moss forms on stone.

As one explores these gardens of tranquility, discard worldly thoughts and concerns and see oneself as a small but integral part of the larger universe.

In the Tea Garden, see how it is focused on stone walking path. The path is designed to help visitors shed the concerns of the world that lay outside. The Strolling Pond Garden would otherwise have displayed the wealth of Japan, but here reflects the rich landscape. In the Natural Garden, all of its leafy trees and plants are placed to show off their changes through the season. Take one's time and enjoy the spirituality of the pristine gardens.

At the top of the hill in the garden one will reach the Cultural Village, which was designed by the renowned architect Kengo Kuma. Here one can immerse oneself in traditional Japanese arts through various seasonal activities, demonstrations, and performances at the Atsuhiko and Ina Goodwin Tateuchi Foundation Courtyard.

Listen to the soft sounds of the koto (a Japanese harp) or the shakuhachi flute whispering through the air. Learn about the important Japanese tea tradition (Chado) and discover the delicate beauty of the art of flower arranging (ikebana).

Related: 20 Lush Botanical Gardens From Around The World (That Are Free)

Visiting The Portland Japanese Garden

The Portland Japanese Garden (as at the time of writing) is open but one must buy timed entry tickets - these are every 30 minutes during public hours. The tickets can be purchased online up to 7 days in advance.

At the garden, guided tours are included with the cost of admission. There are also a number of events hosted in the gardens, check the website to see upcoming events (including seasonal Japanese foods).

  • Open: Wednesday to Monday (Closed Tuesdays)
  • Masks: Masks Are Required Indoor Spaces (Regardless of Vaccination Status)
  • Summer Hours: 10:00 am to 5:30 pm

Admission Fee

  • Adult: $18.95 (Aged 18 to 64)
  • Senior: $16.25 (Aged 65 And Over)
  • Youth: $13.50 (Aged 6-17)
  • Children: $0.00 (5 And Under)
  • Umami Cafe: Hours 10:00 am to 4:00 pm (Note Garden Admission is Required To Visit The Umami Cafe)
  • Tripod Fee: Strangely, There Is A $10.00 Fee For Anyone Using A Tripod Who Is Not A Garden Member

Membership Of The Gardens

  • Member Hours: 8:00 am to 10:00 pm
  • Members: $0.00

Note: The Price Of Admission Ticket Can Be Put Toward Membership

For those interested in becoming a member, there are a number of membership types including $60.00 for individuals, $85.00 for dual memberships, and $110.00 for household memberships. For more information see their website.

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