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Finding Serenity in the Japanese Garden of Portland, Oregon

Updated on December 17, 2017
Peggy W profile image

Our 2 week Oregon vacation was fantastic making us wish to someday see more of this most scenic of states in the beautiful northwest.

Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR
Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR | Source

Japanese Garden

The Japanese Garden of Portland, Oregon can be found in Washington Park and if one wishes to find serenity, this beautifully designed garden will provide the perfect place.

Vacationing one summer with my mother and niece, we had hoped to escape some of Houston's summer heat. So we planned a trip to Oregon which is in the Northwest part of the United States thinking that we would enjoy some cooler temperatures for our two week stay.

Alas!...a headline in The Oregonian which is the Portland, Oregon's newspaper read the following on August 4, 1987: "August sun roasts Oregonians..." Despite some record breaking heat we started our sightseeing and were delighted to find the soothing and restful grounds of Portland's Japanese Garden.

Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon
Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon | Source

Strolling Pond Garden

Even if the day was hotter than normal, walking through a garden filled with design elements including (but not limited to) artistically placed rocks, plants and trees of varying heights and color hues, shimmering fish in the tranquil ponds of water and other discoveries, it engaged us in something so enjoyable that the heat was almost forgotten.

There are five distinct garden styles within the Japanese Garden and the Strolling Pond Garden is one that is aptly named.

Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR - Strolling Pond Garden
Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR - Strolling Pond Garden | Source
Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR
Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR | Source

The bridge pictured in some of my photos in the Strolling Pond Garden is called The Moon Bridge and was constructed from a typical Japanese design.

Wandering through this Strolling Pond Garden which is the largest of the five gardens within the Japanese Garden, the water reflections bounce back distorted images of the surrounding plants, rocks and even passing clouds in the sky.

This provides great subject matter for plein air painters or photographers who wish to freeze some of these delightful images in place for remembering at a later date.

Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR
Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR | Source
Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR
Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR | Source

The crane in the photo above is a typical sculpture found in Japanese Gardens no matter where in the world the gardens are located. It seems to fit in nicely with this aquatic setting.

Views / Japanese Garden / Portland, Oregon

Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR * The Flat Garden
Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR * The Flat Garden | Source
Overlooking Portland and Mt. Hood from the Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR
Overlooking Portland and Mt. Hood from the Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR | Source

The Flat Garden

In gardens like this the sand is carefully raked into patterns symbolizing waves in the sea and not a footprint is to be seen by the people who carefully instill these designs into the sand.

Professor P. Takuma Tono was the designer of Portland's Japanese Garden and the five distinct areas within the garden. He is internationally recognized as being an expert in Japanese garden designs and Portland's Japanese Garden (of all the hundreds in the world outside of Japan) ranks at the top in authenticity.

This Flat Garden was next to the Garden Pavilion of which I did not take a photo. The Pavilion is generally used for Japanese type events as well as Society functions. It is not typically open to the public.

On the East side of the Pavilion a panoramic view of the City of Portland as well as the snow capped Mount Hood can be seen from this elevated position. What a spectacular view!

View of Portland, Oregon from Japanese Garden

My mother and niece at the Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR
My mother and niece at the Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR | Source

The Natural Garden

In this portion of the garden one discovers small waterfalls splashing into streams of water with colorful fish swimming in the company of one another.

Trails lead one under native trees which form a protective canopy of shade for the ferns and mosses which thrive in this environment.

Other colorful shrubs and flowers as well as the occasional sculpture add punctuation marks to this serene setting.

Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR
Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR | Source
Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR
Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR | Source

The other two gardens within the main Japanese Garden are called the Sand and Stone Garden and Tea Garden.

Portland's Japanese Garden sits on only five and a half acres which is not particularly large, but one is invited to linger...perhaps even meditate...in all of the various settings within this invitingly scenic garden.

Japanese Garden in Portland

Blossoms on trees, shrubs and flowers would make visiting Portland's Japanese Garden a treat for the senses and would offer variety from season to season.

I can just imagine the gorgeous colors of the azalea bushes in the Spring of the year or the multitudes of irises in bloom in early Summer and the spectacular colored Fall leaves which would adorn this garden! Winter of course would serve up its special kind of pristine beauty.

We were on a tour of the city and while sufficient time was certainly allotted for enjoyment of the Japanese Garden my mother, niece and I had to keep up with our tour group in moving throughout the grounds.

Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR
Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR | Source
Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR
Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR | Source
Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR
Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR | Source

Finding serenity in the Japanese Garden of Portland, Oregon would not be a difficult task. Hopefully you enjoyed this look at some of the beauty that we enjoyed on that day many years ago via these photos.

Portland Japanese Garden, Portland OR
Portland Japanese Garden, Portland OR | Source

Portland, Oregon

A markerPortland, Oregon -
Portland, OR, USA
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Would you wish to spend some time in this lovely garden?

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© 2010 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed.

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    • Peggy W profile image
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      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi amazmerizing,

      You are lucky to be living in such a gorgeous part of our country. The northwest is indeed beautiful! Glad you liked the photos taken in this particular Japanese Garden located in Portland.

    • amazmerizing profile image

      amazmerizing 2 years ago from PACIFIC NORTHWEST, USA

      So lovely... the Pacific Northwest is where we have always lived. There are numerous lovely botanical gardens everywhere. We always visit as many as we can. This garden is absolutely stunning, and your photos are fabulous. I love the koi ponds! Thanks for sharing! Thumbs up!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Au fait,

      The two weeks we spent exploring the State of Oregon were glorious. There is so much spectacular beauty in that state! Hope you get a chance to visit up there someday. Thanks for the votes and shares, etc.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi peachpurple,

      It certainly gives one an idea of what the Japanese gardens would look like in Japan. Serene and peaceful and beautiful comes to mind. :)

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 2 years ago from North Texas

      I've never been to Oregon, but I've heard how scenic it is in lots of places, and seen for myself in gorgeous photos like yours in this article. What a lovely day it must have been to spend in such beautiful surroundings.

      Gave you 5 more stars, voted up and BAUI, pinned to my 'Travel' board, and will share.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      wow, the japanese garden is beautiful, needn't fly to japan

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi pstraubie48,

      Wow! Getting to see Japanese Gardens in Japan must be amazing! How long did you live there? These types of gardens are truly soothing to the soul. Thanks for your comment. Sending angels back to you!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      Thank you, Peggy. These gardens are so calming and soothing. I visited Japanese gardesna while living in Japan and there was just somethng so

      incredibly peaceful about sitting there and relecting.

      Great hub

      Sending Agnels to you today :) ps

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Suzie HQ,

      Happy to hear that you liked the virtual tour of this Japanese Garden in Portland. Thanks for the link in your hub about the Japanese Garden in Ireland. I added a link to your hub in mine also. The one in Houston, Texas is also gorgeous but what makes it different is the use of local granite stone. Appreciate your comment.

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Peggy!

      What a lovely tour you went on, the garden looks stunning and I can the weather was glorious, not the cool temps you were hoping for! The stone ornaments are beautiful in your pictures. Voted up, interesting and beautiful. Will link to mine as I would definitely recommend people visit here if in OR:-)

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Mary,

      Too bad about your bamboo fencing blowing away in your backyard Japanese Garden setting. Guess if the house made it through, that is the main thing. Right? You could always get some more bamboo... Thanks for commenting & sharing the info about the Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon. It is a beauty! We have a different styled one in Houston that I have written about. It is a little oasis in the heart of the city.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 5 years ago from Florida

      I have always loved Japanese gardens! I built a little waterfall in my backyard once, put a lantern in the setting and put up a bamboo fence. It was SO cute. Then we had a hurricane and my fence blew away. I still have the waterfall and the lantern though.

      I enjoyed this tour through the Japanese Garden of Portland, Oregon.

      I voted this UP, and will share the beauty

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Kathy Sprinkle,

      Thank you for adding this post regarding the Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon to your blog. Appreciate it!

    • profile image

      Kathy Sprinkle 6 years ago

      Thank you for the inspiration! I added this post to my Speaking of Serenity round up! http://blisshabits.com/?p=3823

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello mljdgulley354,

      Hope that you and your husband get to enjoy the Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon together soon sharing the experience. It is so lovely and such a great setting overlooking the city from high atop a hill. Thanks for your comment.

    • mljdgulley354 profile image

      mljdgulley354 6 years ago

      I'm so glad I came across this hub. I visited the Japanese Gardens in Portland with my family when the kids were very young. Since moving back to Oregon, this is one place I want to share with my husband

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello trimar7,

      Thanks for commenting on this hub about the Japanese Garden of Portland, Oregon and glad that you found the pictures enjoyable.

    • trimar7 profile image

      trimar7 6 years ago from New York

      Gorgeous gardens. Beautiful pics - thank you for sharing.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello huggy3760,

      Happy to hear that you enjoyed this hub about the Japanese Garden of Portland, Oregon. I've always enjoyed visiting beautiful gardens when traveling or even staying close to home. Thanks for your comment.

    • huggy3760 profile image

      huggy3760 6 years ago from Bathgate Scotland

      A very interesting well put together hub.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Greetings sirrot,

      Took a look and have already linked your great photos and hub to this one about the Japanese Garden in Portland. Thanks for commenting!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I agree with you, FirstStepsFitness. Portland's Japanese Garden is surely that!

    • FirstStepsFitness profile image

      FirstStepsFitness 7 years ago

      Beautiful garden !

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi epigramman,

      Hahaha! No Geisha girls were spotted serving warmed saki rice wine in Portland's Japanese Garden the day that we visited. Maybe on special occasions? I suppose anything is possible! :-)

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 7 years ago

      ..lovely pictures you have put together ..... although I find my serenity through your hubs - and now that I've found a Japanese garden - I have the best of both worlds!!

      So bring on the warm saki rice wine and my favorite Geisha girl!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi prasetio,

      Japanese Gardens do seem to portray a certain feeling of calmness and serenity. This one in Portland, Oregon is a beauty and apparently very authentic. Thanks for the visit.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I always like Japanese Garden. I contain great philosophy about life. I am glad when it combine with beautiful pond, stone and other instrument which show that this was really Japanese garden. Nice pictures, I love it. I vote this Up.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi billyaustindillon,

      ...and the Rose Garden and Miller Outdoor Theatre, plus the public golf course. All of this is in the same vacinity in Houston just north of the Texas Medical Center in Hermann Park for those who might not know. Houston is a great city! Slightly off topic since this is about the Japanese Garden of Portland, Oregon which we really enjoyed visiting while on vacation. :-)

    • billyaustindillon profile image

      billyaustindillon 7 years ago

      Yes it a great day out that the zoo and the new train ride around the park also with the museum of natural science nearby.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi billyaustindillon,

      Glad you liked this Japanese Garden hub from Portland, Oregon. As to the Japanese Garden in Houston...I've been there several times and will visit it again in the future...especially with out-of-town company who may wish to see it.

    • billyaustindillon profile image

      billyaustindillon 7 years ago

      Gorgeous Peggy - you do put together some great travel hubs. Have you spent much time at the Japanese gardens at Hermann Park?

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Deerwhisperer,

      Had you visited the Japanese Garden in Portland since you lived nearby? I totally agree with you that Oregon is a beautiful state! Thanks for the visit.

    • Deerwhisperer profile image

      Brenda Krupnow 7 years ago from Bradenton, Florida

      What a beautiful garden! I used to live near Portland and thought it was a beautiful state.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Thanks jasper420,

      Prayer and meditation would be a natural in the Japanese Garden in Portland. I agree...it is beautiful.

    • profile image

      jasper420 7 years ago

      Beautiful pics i would love to go there and pray it looks so peacefull and you did such a great job with this hub

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi suny51,

      Glad you liked this hub about the Japanese Garden in Portland. We were introduced to it and other sites on a city tour of Portland, Oregon. When on vacations we generally did take tours as a matter of course when in a new place. After a tour, one can go back and spend more time in areas one enjoyed if time permits. Thanks for the comment.

    • suny51 profile image

      suny51 7 years ago

      Peggy I am really impressed with this japanese garden and the way you have presented it,beautiful as always.Thanks for sharing.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Greetings kgnature,

      Nice to see you visiting here and I am happy that you considered these pictures from the Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon a treat. Thanks for the comment.

    • kgnature profile image

      kgnature 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Nice pictures. I'm on the east coast and not likely to find an opportunity to visit, but your pictures are a treat.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello heymcs,

      Happy to hear that viewing and reading about Portland's Japanese Garden was "just what the doctor ordered" for you this morning. Glad I could fill that particular prescription. :-)

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Mike,

      So you have relatives in the area. Can I join your family as a member? Haha! Even though we had to see Portland and more of Oregon as tourists, it left lasting memories of its beauty. Glad to hear that you liked these pictures of the Japanese Garden. It ALMOST made us forget the heat! (Actually we are used to the summer heat living in Houston...just wished to escape it for our two week stay).

    • heymcs profile image

      heymcs 7 years ago from Utah and DC

      Peggy, Your hub was just what the doctor ordered for me this morning. I needed some beauty & serenity in my life and your hub (and those beautiful pics) did it. Thank you again for sharing your special adventures with us. Next time I am out west, I'd love to visit The Japanese Garden.

    • Mike Lickteig profile image

      Mike Lickteig 7 years ago from Lawrence KS USA

      I had to chuckle when you started out by mentioning you visited Oregon during a heat wave. This beautiful place you saw could easily make one forget the heat. The bridges were beautiful, and the scenery was as well. I have some relatives in the area--might be time for a visit.

      Oh, and as always, your photography was tremendous.

      Mike

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello Lee B,

      When you visit the Japanese Garden in Portland, be sure and also visit the Rose Garden nearby. It is also a beauty.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello Om Paramapoonya,

      Very nice to hear such positive comments about this Japanese Garden hub from Portland, Oregon. Thanks!

    • Lee B profile image

      Lee Barton 7 years ago from New Mexico

      Your photos are so beautiful! I can hardly wait to visit Portland now. I'm not that far away, just don't know when I can get away, but I'm definitely motivated. Great hub!

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 7 years ago

      What a gorgeous place! Thanks for sharing the beautiful pictures, videos as well as your wonderful experience with us, Peggy. :)

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Micky Dee,

      Glad to hear that you enjoyed this look at the pictures and videos of the Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon. Thanks for the comment.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      Very nice gardens. I enjoyed the videos and your pictures! Thanks Peggy!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello Sally's Trove,

      My husband and I have also visited the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco. Beautiful spot! Thanks for commenting about the Japanese Garden in Portland. With a world-wide rating of being the number 1 most authentic outside of Japan, it is well worth a visit!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi dahoglund,

      You are always so complimentary! Thanks! Heading over to your Black Hawk hub now.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Greetings KoffeeKlatch Gals,

      Love the name you have chosen! I used to enjoy doing that with some neighbors we had in Wisconsin way back in the 1970's. Fun!

      Glad you liked these pictures of the Japanese Garden in Portland, and yes, I feel fortunate that we got to visit them. Thanks for the comment.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Hello, hello,

      Thanks for viewing the pictures of the Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon and commenting. Do you have any Japanese Gardens in your part of the world that you have visited?

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Peggy, thank you for the lovely tour. It brought back memories of living in California and visiting the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco. I never ventured as far north as Portland, but should I some day, this beautiful Japanese garden you describe in words and pictures will be a destination.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      You always do an excellent hub on scenic places. An essay of words and pictures.

      I did a hub on Black Hawk if it interest you.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      The Japanese looks beautiful and serenehow lucky you are to have visited it. Great pictures.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for your glorious pictures of a beautiful garden.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi nifty@50,

      Your grandfather's house must have been beautiful indeed if it reminded you of the Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon! I am impressed! Thanks for the comment.

    • nifty@50 profile image

      nifty@50 7 years ago

      These pictures reminded me of my Grandfather's house! In his back yard, he had 20ft bamboo growing around his fence, for complete privacy and two large Gold fish ponds.