Lonely Planet Writer

Portland Japanese Garden opens Cultural Village expansion

The Portland Japanese Garden has long been celebrated as the most authentic Japanese garden outside of Japan. On 2 April, guests were introduced to the much-anticipated US$33.5 million expansion, including a new entrance and the Cultural Village.

Portland Japanese Garden.
Portland Japanese Garden. Image by Bruce Forster

The addition of 3.4 acres to the 9.1 acre property provides even more opportunity to absorb Japanese culture, from art exhibitions and performances to the serene aesthetic of traditional garden design. 

The entrance to the Japanese Garden now features layers of cascading pools. Guests are invited to relax into the peaceful environment with the sound of falling water naturally hushing the crowds. Rocks and trees crowd the stone pathway as the Cultural Village slowly emerges through the forest, like a collection of secret tree houses.


A post shared by Joanna Priestley (@joanimator) on Apr 1, 2017 at 7:49am PDT

The Japanese Garden’s new Cultural Village, designed by renowned Japanese Architect, Kengo Kuma, is made up of three buildings; Jordan Schnitzer Japanese Arts Learning Center, the Garden house, and Umami Cafe, where guests are treated to cups of tea and space to relax. Each building is designed to allow light and surrounding greenery to intermingle with the interiors, creating a fluid experience as visitors make their way inside and back out.

The Jordan Schnitzer Japanese Arts Learning Center.
The Jordan Schnitzer Japanese Arts Learning Center. Image by Bruce Forster

Kuma, who also led the design of the National Stadium for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, wanted to marry Portland’s abundance of nature with the traditional Japanese aesthetic, creating a space that is both foreign and familiar to local residents. The expansion blends effortlessly with the surrounding Forest Park, one of the largest urban parks in the country.


A post shared by ArtofGardening.org (@jimcharlier) on Apr 1, 2017 at 2:59am PDT

A trip to the newly expanded Portland Japanese Garden provides a unique opportunity to embrace nature and culture, in a space that is surprisingly peaceful, despite 350,000 guests meandering along the garden paths each year. Check the schedule for upcoming art exhibitions, lectures, and performances, to further enhance the sensation that you’ve traveled to Tokyo, straight from Portland, Oregon.

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