Japanese American culture

Connect with Portland's rich Japanese-American heritage at sites around the city.

Japanese Memorial PlazaThe Japanese American Historical Plaza in Waterfront Park features 13 engraved stones.

This section was produced in collaboration with The Asian Reporter, a community newspaper featuring international and Pacific Northwest news and events with an Asian focus.

Japanese American Historical Plaza and Friendship Circle

Thirteen stone markers commemorate the history of the Issei and their descendants in the Japanese American Historical Plaza. One hundred ornamental cherry trees link the plaza to the Friendship Circle, where you’ll find a “singing” sculpture created to celebrate Portland’s 30-year Sister City relationship with Sapporo, Japan. Guided tours are offered by Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center.

Nichiren Buddhist Temple of Portland

The Nichiren Buddhist Temple of Portland is a community center that hosts annual events, including a New Year’s celebration, an event for Buddha’s birthday, a spring festival and Obon services. Visitors welcome.

Oregon Buddhist Temple

One of the oldest religious centers for the Japanese community, the Oregon Buddhist Temple is especially noteworthy for its beautiful sanctuary altar. Portland’s Japanese Buddhists host a New Year’s party, celebrate the birth of Buddha and hold the annual ObonFest at the center. Visitors are welcome.

Oregon History Museum

The Oregon History Museum maintains substantial photo collections, news clippings and family history materials on Japanese Americans in Oregon. Collections include letters, diaries and objects from the internment.

Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center

The Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center is a Japanese-American history museum that preserves and shares the culture and history of Japanese Americans in the Pacific Northwest. The center features exhibits, events and talks throughout the year.

Portland Art Museum

The Portland Art Museum has six galleries dedicated to its extensive collection of Asian art. The Japanese galleries include many prints, painting and decorative arts from the Edo and Meiji periods, and contemporary art. Open Tuesday through Sunday.

Portland Japanese Garden

Acclaimed as the most authentic Japanese Garden outside of Japan, this is an ideal retreat for meditation and contemplation. Covering nearly 12 acres, the Portland Japanese Garden features eight different gardens, replete with exquisite plants, carefully placed stones and relaxing pools.

Portland Taiko

Asian-American drum ensemble Portland Taiko, established in 1994, performs throughout the year. In addition to community performances at festivals, libraries and many other venues, the group also holds seasonal shows at the Portland’5 Centers for the Arts. Taiko combines rhythm, movement, energy and culture into a single art form.


Japan-America Society of Oregon

A private, non-profit, membership organization, the Japan-America Society of Oregon is dedicated to promoting business, education and cultural exchange and enhancing mutual understanding between the people of Japan, Oregon and Southwest Washington.

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