Portland’s Japanese Gardens Offers Peaceful Setting

Portland Japanese Garden, view from Moonbridge to the Harp Tuner Lantern in the fall, Portland, Oregon
Portland Japanese Garden, view from Moonbridge to the Harp Tuner Lantern in the fall, Portland, Oregon

If you are looking for a place to relax, meditate or simply recharge your batteries, plan an afternoon at the Portland Japanese Garden.
The 5.5 acre Japanese Garden in Portland is composed of five distinct garden styles. They include the Flat Garden, Strolling Pond Garden, Tea Garden, Natural Garden and Sand and Stone Garden.
When we enter a Japanese garden, the desired effect is to realize a sense of peace, harmony, and tranquility and to experience the feeling of being a part of nature. In a deep sense, the Japanese garden is a living reflection of the long history and traditional culture of Japan.
Influenced by Shinto, Buddhist, and Taoist philosophies, there is always “something more” in these compositions of stone, water, and plants than meets the eye. Three of the essential elements used to create a Japanese garden are stone, the “bones” of the landscape; water, the life-giving force; and plants, the tapestry of the four seasons. Japanese garden designers feel that good stone composition is one of the most important elements in creating a well-designed garden. Secondary elements include pagodas, stone lanterns, water basins, arbors, and bridges. Japanese gardens are asymmetrical in design and reflect nature in idealized form.
Traditionally, human scale is maintained throughout so that one always feels part of the environment, not overpowered by it. As Professor Takuma Tono wanted to incorporate native trees in our Garden so that it would blend naturally with its environment, some of the plantings here are on a larger scale.
What Time of Year is Best?
Any time of year is a good time to visit the Portland Japanese Garden. Japanese gardens are created with imagination and designed to display nature’s beauty in all seasons.
Spring is the time for fresh greenery and subtle blossoms. Cherry blossoms appear briefly in late February, while late spring flowers include azalea, camellia, and wisteria.
Summer’s sunlit shades of green yield an unbroken, calming visual experience.
The vibrant colors of fall make autumn a popular visiting time. Autumn is a celebration of nature’s gift of life in the past year, and a transition to the peacefulness of winter.
Winter reveals the pure essence of the garden, when all has been stripped away to expose its fundamental structure, spirit, and quiet beauty.
The Garden is open to visitors seven days a week year-round, closed only on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Spring/Summer Public Hours
(March 16-September 30)
Monday: noon-7pm*
Tuesday-Sunday: 10am-7pm*
*Last General Admission at 6:30pm
Fall/Winter Public Hours
(October 1-March 15)
Monday: Noon-4pm
Tuesday–Sunday: 10am-4pm
$9.50 Adult
$7.75 Senior (65+)
$7.75 College Student (w/ID)
$6.75 Youth (6-17)
Children 5 and under free