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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 1950’s Portland found itself a Japanese twin sister: Sapporo. A few years later, the city decided to follow the gesture by establishing its own authentic Japanese Garden. Authentic in the sense that it was fully designed by a Japanese landscaper: Takuma Tono of the Tokyo University of Agriculture.
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.
The garden is open to the public seven days a week, usually between 10am and 7pm (Mondays and winter time, they have different hours, so check their website when planning your visit. The cost of admission is $14.95 for adults with discounts for youth, seniors and students.
Our visit to the Portland Japanese Garden – A Quick Review
In September, we visited Portland for a couple of days, en route from Alaska back to Los Angeles. We had visited the city before and basically stopped to wait for a few pre-ordered items to find their way to a local Amazon locker. I checked online to see which are the most popular attractions in Portland to make sure we weren’t missing on anything. Sure enough, the Portland Japanese Garden seemed to be the no. 1 attraction in town.
So, on a typically rainy and cloudy Portland day we went to town. We parked our car in a lot in Downtown Portland and walked from Pioneer Square to Washington Park. We hiked uphill through beautiful woodland all the way to the Japanese Garden.
I hadn’t researched admission rates prior to 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 an absolutely magnificent garden and I only had two issues.
Admission rate is a bit high
First, the garden is too small. Yes, that’s sort of 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 culinarily. What’s more, I wanted to take a Japanese ice tea and cookie to go but was told you have to get a table. No “to-go” options. well, I couldn’t very well drag the rest of my family to sit in a fancy Japanese restaurant just because I wanted ice team 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 along with you. And yes, we survived (it was only one hour) but it would have been nicer had we been able to grab a quick bite.
Finally, the photos!
This garden is a photographer’s dream. I’m not a photographer yet was able to capture some really gorgeous shots. I hope you enjoy these –
I hope you enjoyed these photos. If you’ve been to the Portland Japanese Garden, do share your own impressions in a comment – thank you!