Portland Japanese Garden#3 in Best Things To Do in Portland, OR
When the hustle and bustle of Portland start to get the best of you, you can seek out the Zen-like tranquility at the Japanese Garden within Washington Park.
The 12-acre Portland Japanese Garden is made up of eight separate gardens that represent different styles of traditional Japanese gardening techniques. All of the gardens feature essential elements like stone, water and plants that come from influences of the Shinto, Buddhist and Taoist philosophies, creating a unique, serene environment where visitors feel they are becoming a part of nature. The garden also features the Kashintei Tea House, where visitors can take part in a traditional tea ceremony. If you're visiting in late March, don't miss the chance to see the cherry blossoms in full bloom.
Recent visitors described the garden as tranquil, serene and beautiful. They also suggested pairing a trip to the International Rose Test Garden with a visit here as both gardens are within walking distance of each other in Washington Park. Though reviewers raved about the Japanese Garden's peaceful atmosphere, they did gripe about the entrance fee.
You can learn more specifics about the eight gardens located here during the free guided tours. The Japanese Garden is located in the northern section of Washington Park, west of downtown Portland. You can drive to the park, though parking can be tricky (especially in the summer) and expensive. You can view the parking availability within the park online. TriMet bus No. 63 offers service to the garden and connects to the MAX stations at Oregon Zoo and Providence Park. You can also take the Red or Blue line MAX train to the Washington Park stop (the zoo) and then take a free Explore Washington Park shuttle to the garden.
Unlike other gardens within Washington Park, there is an admission fee. Admission costs $16.95 for adults, $11.50 for youths ages 6 to 17 and is free for kids ages 5 and younger. (If you don't want to pay to see a garden, the International Rose Test Garden next door offers a free alternative). Hours vary by season, but generally, the garden is open Monday from noon to 4 or 7 p.m. and Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 or 7 p.m. For more information, check out the Japanese Garden website.
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#1 Washington Park
Many critics, travelers and locals agree that of all of Portland's parks (and they are numerous), Washington Park is perhaps the best. Home to such notable landscaping feats as the Portland Japanese Garden and the International Rose Test Garden, as well as the World Forestry Center, Hoyt Arboretum and several memorials dedicated to pivotal points in Oregon's history.
There are also family-friendly attractions like the Oregon Zoo and Portland Children's Museum along with a large playground, soccer fields, tennis courts and an archery range. Just make sure you save plenty of time for a leisurely stroll down one of the many shady paths, which are often decorated with flower displays and fountains.
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