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Oregon: Portland – The Japanese Garden

Dwelling in a city can be a stressful experience but for residents and visitors alike Washington Park is a terrific place to escape to for a break. Here you’ll find the Oregon Zoo, children’s museum,  woodland trails, an amazing rose garden and the Portland Japanese Garden. For a greater ‘outdoors’ experience Portland has Forest Park, a 5,200 acres woodland area right in the heart of the Portland metro area.

The Japanes Garden is situated on 12 acres in Washington Park and encompasses and 8 gardens and an authentic Japanese tea house. It was designed in 1963 and when His Excellency Nobuo Matsunaga, the former Ambassador of Japan to the United States, visited Portland Japanese Garden, he proclaimed it to be “the most beautiful and authentic Japanese garden in the world outside of Japan.”

It is a stunning place to visit any time of the year. Like most authentic Japanese gardens this one is beautifully crafted but at the same time, everything feels totally natural, serene and unplanned. The paths take you on a winding journey among the plants, trees and water features of the park.

The journey starts through Portland's Japanese Garden
The entrance to the gardens are guarded by stone lions
There are displays of art related to Japanese culture in the traditonal Japanese building located in the garden
A statue that has been colonised by plants and moss
One of the paths that meander through the garden
Karesansui garden (dry landscape) in the Portland Japanese Garden
A pretty bridge across a stream
A delightful waterfall

About Portland Japanese Garden

Address:611 SW Kingston Ave, Portland, OR 97205
Hours:Wednesday to Monday: 10 am to 5:30 pm, Closed Tuesdays
Adult: $18.95, Senior (65+): $16.25, Student (with ID): $15.25, Youth (6-17): $13.50, Child (5 and under): Free

Getting to and around Portland

Portland is a very easy city to get to. The Portland International airport is located on the east side of the city and is served by numerous airlines including some low-cost carriers. It is a relatively small airport and easy to navigate get around. There is an extension of the Portland light rail service that is close to the airport that will take you right into the heart of the city.

Getting to Portland by car is also easy with major freeways running from the North, South (Interstate 5) and the East (Interstate 84). Seattle is about 175 miles north of Portland and San Francisco is 640 miles to the south.

There is an excellent public transport system serving the Portland metro area, including light rail and busses. It is also a walkable city, so when we visit we usually like to walk as much as possible.

Best time to visit Portland

The best time to visit Portland is from June to August, when consistently warm weather allows the city’s outdoorsy culture to thrive. Plus, summer is when the city’s roses (especially at the International Rose Test Garden) are in full bloom. However, this is also the peak tourist season, so you’ll have to book at least a couple months in advance to ensure availability and the best room rates. If you’re looking to score a bargain on a hotel, consider a winter trip. Chilly temperatures repel sightseers, but Portland’s proximity to Mount Hood makes it a great destination for winter sports enthusiasts. No matter what time of year you visit, you’ll find a variety of niche local events to choose from.

Where to stay?


The Society Hotel is located in the heart of Portland’s China Town. The building was built in 1881 by the Seaman’s Friends Society as a safe haven for sailors.  Several years after The Seaman’s Friends Society opened as a hotel, the business began to dwindle, and the building was eventually rented to the Portland Hospital for one year.  In 2013 a group of entrepreneurs purchased the building with the intention of revitalizing it into something lasting and that would have a positive impact on the area.

The hotel is located in Chinatown and is only a 10-minute walk from the fashionable Pearl District and 20 minutes from the main downtown areas.


We recently stayed at the HI Portland Northwest hostel during a short visit to Portland. I had booked us into a private room which was fantastic with double bay windows on two sides of the room.

Apparently, this is considered the 3rd best hostel in the world and you can see why. The common facilities, from the lounge to the community kitchen are wonderful. There is also a cafe that serves great food and craft beers!

The hostel is located only a few minutes from the popular Pearl District and other shopping areas


The Hotel Vintage – a Kimpton Hotel is located at 422 SW Broadway, on the corner of Broadway and Washington. The hotel is centrally located in the heart of downtown Portland – just 6 blocks from the waterfront and in the heart of downtown Portland’s shopping, dining, entertainment and business district. One block away is Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square and access to MAX, our convenient light rail system. Pioneer Place Mall is located one block away and has 70 speciality shops. Close to several theatres, Portland’s art museum and restaurants.

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