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Portland Japanese Garden
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What’s to Love: My wife and I visited the Japanese Garden when we first moved to Portland around 1999-2000. It was nice…pleasant for sure. Fast forward to 2017 with a new 33.5 million “Cultural Crossing Expansion,” and Portland has a new can’t miss destination for the whole family!

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Take some time to flip through my photo album – there are so many incredible sights inside the new Garden. I know this might not seem like a must-do for an adventure website; however, my two boys (ages 8 and 13) loved it! As we walked through the garden, they were both taking pictures. There are many side jaunts to take off the main pathways. Make sure to explore these paths, because they often reveal hidden treasures.

It’s a fun walk up to the new village that features a new tea house (Umami Cafe), Tanabe Gallery, Tateuchi Courtyard, Jordan Schnitzer Japanese Arts Learning Center, Vollum Library, Garden House, and the amazing Zagunis Castle Wall. These attractions are all detailed on their website here. All of these new additions create a magical feeling that one might get from visiting an actual village in Japan. Their website states, “The centerpiece of the expansion is a Cultural Village designed by world-renowned architect Kengo Kuma. Kuma is one of the most significant contemporary Japanese architects working today. He believes the study of place is essential to integrating a project with its surroundings.”

Caveats: Limited parking. Family of four can cost you upwards of $50, and that’s not including any tea or food.

Website: Portland Japanese Garden

Distance from Portland: The Garden is inside Washington Park near The Oregon Zoo. It’s within two miles of downtown Portland.

Recommended Ages: A good fit for the whole family including visiting friends and grandparents. Little kids will like wandering around all the garden paths.

Parental Stress Factor: Stress? It’s a Japanese Garden! Let the calm environment take you to your happy place.

Physical Difficulty: It is a rather steep walk up to the main village, which I would not consider wheelchair accessible (legally). The main Village and some of the gardens are fully accessible. If you have concerns, I would call to talk things over.

Family Fun Factor: It’s not a roller coaster, but it’s an activity that an entire family could do including babies, toddlers, elementary kids, teens, young adults, parents, and grandparents. Not too many attractions could make that claim.

Pet Friendly: No pets.

Weather Considerations: I would pick a nice sunny day to explore; however, it’s also a destination that would be fine in rainy weather. There are plenty of indoor attractions, and the trees provide good cover from the rain.

Insider Info: Under age 6 is free. So many things to do within Washington Park. Combine this trip with The Children’s Museum, World Forestry Center, or The Oregon Zoo. To make the visit even more fun, check-out their “events” page.

Family Tips: Bring cameras for your kids to take pictures, even if they’re not into photography. It’s a way to keep them engaged and active during the visit. They will also gain an appreciation after they see their own photos. Make sure to read their website concerning “Garden Etiquette.” Young kids might need a bit of guidance concerning how to act when at the Garden.

Technorati Tags: Japanese, Garden, Portland, family

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