Portland Japanese Garden visitors will have the chance to explore one of the most authentic Japanese gardens found anywhere outside of Japan. No other Japanese garden in North America is considered to be finer, and if you want to get away from it all for a while, its tranquil environs provide an idyllic spot. Set in the West Hills due west of the downtown area, the Portland Japanese Garden offers varying terrain, and the views of Mount Hood in the distance really lend to the Japanese feel. Mount Hood, thanks in part to its volcanic nature, actually looks quite similar to Japan's famous Mount Fuji. It is worth noting that Portland Japanese Gardens free days come around with relative regularity, though paying full price is worth it if you want to enjoy the tranquil and beautiful surrounds.
The Portland Japanese Garden calls Washington Park home. This public park is one of the best parks in Portland and is also home to the Portland Children's Museum, the Oregon Zoo, and the International Rose Test Garden, among other attractions, making it an excellent place to spend some quality time while in town. The five different gardens that make up the Japanese Garden in Portland are spread out over five and a half acres and were inspired by Buddhist, Shinto, and Taoist philosophies. In the Flat Garden, raked white sand simulates water and provides a contrast to the azaleas, the grassy lawn, the creeping moss, and the evergreens. Another sub-garden that helps to comprise the Portland Japanese Garden is the Sand and Stone Garden, which exudes a very tranquil appeal through its mix of weathered stones and rippled sand.
The other three theme gardens that can be found at the Portland Japanese Garden are the Tea Garden, the Strolling Pond Garden, and the Natural Garden. The Tea Garden is where you will find the Kashintei Tea House. At the tea house visitors can enjoy a typical Japanese tea ceremony after walking along a lovely path and rinsing their hands and mouths at a water basin. For those who are interested in Japanese Garden events in Portland, special demonstrations of the traditional Japanese tea ceremony are offered at the Kashintei Tea House on the third Saturday of the month between the months of May and October. As for the Strolling Pond Garden, it features two tranquil ponds that are connected by a stream, while the Natural Garden is known for its steep terrain and its dense tree and shrub coverage.
There is never a bad time to visit the Portland Japanese Garden, as every season brings its own delights. In late spring, the wisterias are blossoming, while mid-spring sees the azaleas opening up and the cherry blossoms exhibiting their pink-colored flowers. In the winter, naked trees and dark-colored pines create a sort of melancholic appeal, and when summer rolls around, the banks of the ponds are bursting with colorful irises. Should you hope to enjoy the gardens when they are at their most tranquil, rainy days are usually the best. Regardless of what you have in mind for your visit, the gardens are open to the public every day of the year, save for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.
Should your Portland vacation budget be tight, checking ahead to see if one of the Portland Japanese Gardens free days is taking place might be the most enticing option when planning a visit. These days happen periodically and are announced on the Gardens' website. While they are not entirely predictable, there is often a free day scheduled in the late autumn. The Portland Japanese Gardens free days don't come around often during the calendar year, though you might just be able to plan your visit around one of them if you are in town at the right time. On the free days, visitors can usually enjoy the gardens at no cost between the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. As for some of the other Japanese Garden events in Portland, they include various gardening workshops, art shows, lectures, and the five special family days that relate to traditional Japan festivals that have be observed since the sixth century.
Whether you opt to enjoy one of the Japanese Garden events in Portland or you drop by the when no events are going on, your visit is bound to be an unforgettable one. In fact, you might find this place so appealing that repeat visits will be in order. The larger Washington Park provides some fantastic options for other things to do, such as hiking on the miles of trails, so it's not uncommon for Portland visitors to find themselves returning to the scene to enjoy some of the best experiences that the city has to offer.