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19 Beautiful Moments I Captured in the Portland Japanese Garden

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Portland Japanese Garden - one of 21 shots shared in this blog post

We visited the Portland Japanese Garden in September, and I'm here today to share some of the serene, beautiful moments we experienced there.

This post is about photos, more than text, but I will start with a quick review of our visit and an outline of what you need to know if you plan on visiting this magical place.

About Portland's Japanese Garden

Sometime in the late 1950s, Portland found itself a Japanese twin sister: Sapporo. A few years later, the city followed the gesture by establishing its own authentic Japanese Garden.

It is genuine in the sense that Takuma Tono, a Japanese landscaper from the Tokyo University of Agriculture, fully designed it.

This garden has since won multiple awards for its genuine style. Experts agree that it's the best example of Japanese landscaping in North America.

Our Visit to the Portland Japanese Garden - A Quick Review

In September, we traveled from Alaska to Los Angeles for a few days, visiting Portland. We had previously visited the city and stopped to wait for a few pre-ordered items to find their way to a local Amazon locker.

I checked online to see the most popular attractions in Portland to ensure we weren't missing anything. Sure enough, the Portland Japanese Garden seemed to be the no. 1 attraction in town.

So, we went to town on a typically rainy and cloudy Portland day. We parked our car in a lot in Downtown Portland and walked from Pioneer Square to Washington Park. We hiked uphill through beautiful woodland to the Japanese Garden.

I hadn't researched admission rates before arrival. We had visited the nearby Rose Garden in the past, so I assumed this would be either free or low-cost. Wrong. As a family of four, it cost us almost $50 to get inside.

So, did we like it? Yes, we did. This is a magnificent garden, and I only had two issues.

The admission rate is a bit high.

First, the garden is too small. Yes, that's a compliment, but that's also my way of saying the admission rates are too steep for the length of the experience.

We walked fairly slowly and stopped to appreciate the many small gardens within the garden, and yet, within one hour, we were done. $50 for an hour is a bit steep for our family's travel budget.

Food options are limited.

The second issue is the food. All that walking made us hungry. There is what appeared to be a lovely Japanese tea room, but my boys are not that adventurous.

What's more, I wanted to take a Japanese iced tea and cookie but was told you have to get a table. There are no "to-go" options. I couldn't drag the rest of my family to sit in a fancy Japanese restaurant just because I wanted ice cream and a cookie.

So, if you're visiting with your family, get something to eat before you go into the garden and/or bring snacks with you. And yes, we survived (it was only one hour), but it would have been nicer had we grabbed a quick bite.

Finally, the photos!

This garden is a photographer's dream. I'm not a photographer, yet I captured some really gorgeous shots. I hope you enjoy these - 

Portland Japanese Garden - one of 21 shots shared in this blog post

Portland Japanese Garden - one of 21 shots shared in this blog post

Portland Japanese Garden - one of 21 shots shared in this blog post

Portland Japanese Garden - one of 21 shots shared in this blog post

Portland Japanese Garden - one of 21 shots shared in this blog post

Portland Japanese Garden - one of 21 shots shared in this blog post

Portland Japanese Garden - one of 21 shots shared in this blog post

Portland Japanese Garden - one of 21 shots shared in this blog post

Portland Japanese Garden - one of 21 shots shared in this blog post

Portland Japanese Garden - one of 21 shots shared in this blog post

Portland Japanese Garden - one of 21 shots shared in this blog post

Portland Japanese Garden - one of 21 shots shared in this blog post

I hope you enjoyed these photos. If you've been to the Portland Japanese Garden, please share your impressions in a comment. Thank you!

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19 Beautiful Moments I Captured In The Portland Japanese Garden

 
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16 Comments

  1. Photos are beautiful. The garden is, in fact, magnificent. Price of admission too high? Maybe debatebale. Art is priceless, in my opinion. It’s not a kids trampoline park. Its living art for the soul.
    But the complaints about food and take-out? Well, now that just sounds like gentrification in the flesh. Sadly, the most important experience lesson of a Japanese garden was completely missed. Sad. But thanks for the photos.

    • Ummm ok. This is a personal blog and I’m not sure why you felt the need to leave such a patronizing comment. Sad.

    • It is a beautiful garden, I was just there with a friend a month ago to enjoy the azaleas and camellias (which were unusually gorgeous this year because they weren’t ruined by the rain). I’m guessing they don’t want people walking around with food because there are pigs that live among us and they have enough to do just keeping the garden up let alone collecting garbage. We had to make an appointment to get in because of covid so there was a limited number of people and that was kind of nice.

  2. How superb… thank you for sharing and I have started my own small (minature) version in my garden… this will be great inspiration.

  3. Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos and comments
    It’s on my list of places to visit close to my visit to Seattle to see family

    • You may also enjoy the Chinese Garden (even smaller), the Oregon Garden quite large and it has a Frank Lloyd Wright house on the property.

  4. Beautiful pictures. Thanks so much for sharing. Don’t know when I’ll get back to the pacific northwest but wish I could go right now.

    • It is a gorgeous area, for sure. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, Kathy – much appreciated!

  5. Thanks to you and your travels, I get to see places I never knew existed, and others I only dream of seeing! What lovely photographs you took!

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