Washington Park Part 2: Lan Su Botanical Japanese Garden In Portland, Oregon.

Updated: Sep 26

If you are in Portland, Oregon, and wandering about the next place to visit near me: then Japanese Garden, (AKA: Lan Su Garden) is the first place I would recommend. Before going further talking about it, it is important to mention Washington Park because that’s where the Japanese Garden is located.

Washington Park Part 2: Lan Su Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon.

The Travel Destination Collection Represents To you - Washington Park:

Washington Park has a unique stunning beauty located in Portland, Oregon; there is a lot to discover in the park that includes Museums, public arts, amphitheaters, zoos, and gardens. My main focus in this blog is the Japanese and Chinese gardens. However, part 1 only talks about the Chinese Garden and part 2 will cover the Japanese Garden.

This is part 2, the Japanese Garden. If you wish to read part 1: the Chinese Garden, click on the link.

The sign entrance of the garden: "Japanese Garden Society of Oregon" (Lan Su Botonical Garden)

Location of The Japanese Garden in Portland:

To be specific, the Japanese Garden is located directly above the International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park at 611 SW Kingston Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97205.

The Japanese Garden Portland History:

In 1959, Sapporo city, Japan, and Portland became sister cities, and the garden was built as a result. It was meant to establish a new beginning after the war and increase both Oregon and Japan's economy.

Ever since, the Japanese Garden became one of the greatest cultural attractions in Portland, Oregon. It became an opportunity to experience Japanese culture outside of Japan.

Some Side Note and Travel Tips:

  • · Most of the trees planted on the Garden are actually donated from people’s backyards.

  • · The best time most people prefer to visit is during the spring because that’s the time where flowers bloom.

  • · The best time to visit the Japanese garden is in the afternoon between 3:00 pm - 3:30 pm because it this period where the sunlight and the tree shade create such beautiful scenic.

Here Is A Map of The 5 Principal Gardens: Washington Park

5 Principal Gardens, Japanese Garden In Portland Symbolism:

1- The strolling Pond Garden and Its Symbolism:

You can hear the waterfall streaming in the Strolling Pond Garden from a distance. It is calming and pleasant to look at. Once you get closer and hear the heavy waterfall gets stronger, you can feel it cleansing your body and mind.

The strolling Pond Garden, and its beautiful waterfall

It surely can put you into a meditation state and retaining your focus. This is one of the reasons the Japanese Garden in Portland is one of the world's most beautiful gardens. People from all over the world, such as photographers come to just experience it and take pictures of the waterfall in the strolling pond garden.

The Strolling Pond Garden consists of two ponds: the upper pond and the lower pond. The lower pond features the Moon Bridge and the lower pond has a zig-zag bridge.

Koi fish on the lake by the Zig-Zag bridge on the strolling Pond Garden

2- The Tea Garden and Kashintei Tea House:

The Tea Garden is a quiet reflection of natural beauty and a pathway to tranquility. On the sidewalk stepping stones and lanterns carefully placed and leading to the Kahintei Tea house. Kashintei: (literally “Flower-Heart Room”)

Symbolism: the experience walking through the Roji Path to Kathintei Tea house is meant to give the guest a sense of traveling out of the city and deep into the mountains to the hermitage. once they arrive at the tea house where they can rest and relax. Perhaps, they get entertained by the Tea ceremony (Chanoyu).

Here is me relaxing at the Japanese Garden Tea House looking at the Stone Path and Lantern

3- The Natural Garden: Previously known As Hillside Garden

The natural Garden was created to encourage visitors to rest and contemplate the essence and brevity of life. It has many different biological trees some that are not Japanese. The style referred to as Zoki No Niwa.

Here is a glimpse of the Natural garden.

4- The Flat Garden:

The Flat Garden is also known as the pavilion area. It features views and characteristics of the Japanese design. All the empty spaces, shapes, and forms are meant to fit perfectly and creating an ecosystem. Click here to learn more about it and its symbolism.

This is how the flat garden. There is a reason it looks this way. Click on the link above to find out

5- The Sand and Stone Garden (Zen/ Karesansui Garden):

Karesansui, means (dry mountain water) in Japanese. If you look carefully you can see rake patterns that represent the ripples in the water. It is a good place to contemplate and relax your eyes. You can also walk barefoot and relax your feet. Click here to know the story behind it and its symbolism.

The Sand and Stone Garden (Zen/ Karesansui Garden)

Culture Crossing Village: (Pavilion Gallery)

The Culture Crossing Village was established in 2017. It is the place where you can eat, shop, watch performance art, and get educated and inspired. It is also a great place to know the Japanese culture and experience their true art, such as dancing, music, and talk series.

Here is the walk to Culture crossing village: (Pavilion Gallery) and viewing Mount Hood.

The Culture Crossing Village also overlooks a beautiful view of Mount Hood. It is in fact the most scenic view of the garden and maybe Washington Park, so prepare your camera to snap a picture.

Traditional Zagunis Castle Wall:

At the top of the village located a traditional Zagunis castle wall holds back the mountainsides above. It is stack with granite from Baker City. One interesting fact about the Castle wall is that the granites are stacked without any cement (dray stack).

It only holds still by gravity as the weight of the stone holds it in place. In fact, the shape is actually designed to be earthquake-proof, which means it cannot be affected by an earthquake.

This video will give you the overall idea of the tradition Zagunis Castle Wall:

Umami Café:

Side Note: Garden admission or membership is required to visit the Umami Café.

The Umami Cafe is a place for you to relax and contemplate the beauty of the garden. You can try the traditional Japanese tea with Gracious. It is a drink that won't find anywhere else except in the Umami Cafe and the Tokyo Jugetsudo tea company, Ajinomoto. Therefore, you do not want to miss it. You can also grab a snack of the Japanese confectioneries presented there.

On a final note, the Japanese garden is not like any other gardens we usually see. In comparison to the Chinese Garden, it is a total paradise. I honestly enjoyed both, but I like the Japanese Garden because it is more spacious and there is more to see. I am curious to know; please answer this question.

Which one would you prefer more: the Japanese Garden or the Chinese Garden? Please explain,

Here is a list of other travel destinations for you to read: