Japanese American Events

Portland's Japanese American community offers engaging activities all year long.

3 min read

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.



The annual Mochitsuki Japanese New Year celebration features the ceremonial pounding of steamed rice into mochi, a traditional snack that symbolizes starting the new year with abundance. The festival also includes Japanese food, activities, performances and a cultural fair.


The Portland Japanese Garden hosts the O-Shogatsu Japanese New Year celebration, featuring traditional activities for children, a kakizome calligraphy demonstration and more.


Shinnenkai is a traditional Japanese way of getting together to celebrate a new year, make promises to do one’s best for the year and wish each other good luck and fortune.


Day of Remembrance

The Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center commemorates the incarceration of more than 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry during World War II.

Hina Matsuri

The Japanese Festival of Dolls, Hina Matsuri, features a display of hina ningyo dolls (elaborately costumed figures depicting the imperial family and its courtiers) as well as an opportunity to dress girls in cotton yukata for photographs in front of the dolls. At the Portland Japanese Garden.


Ohara Ikebana Exhibit

The Portland Chapter of the Ohara School of Ikebana is noted for developing the moribana style, which breaks with the more formal vertical style of the past to create horizontal “landscape” arrangements. At the Portland Japanese Garden.


Portland Japanese Garden Plant Sale

A wide selection of Asian plants, including peonies, camellias, bamboo, bonsai, Japanese maples, azaleas and rhododendrons, are available for sale at the annual Portland Japanese Garden Plant Sale.


Kodomo no Hi

The Children’s Day festival, Kodomo no Hi, at the Portland Japanese Garden features activities and entertainment, including the raising of the koi nobori (carp banner), taiko drumming, crafts and more.


O.N.E. Annual Banquet

The annual fundraising banquet of the Oregon Nikkei Endowment (O.N.E.) features an awards presentation, entertainment, keynote address, silent auction and more.

Saké Fest PDX

This Northwest fest is an urban twist on enjoying an ancient Japanese sacred drink. This event is a fundraiser for the Japanese-American Society of Oregon.



Tanabata, also known as the Star Festival, is a time when wishes written on strips of paper are hung on trees in hopes they will come true. The popular summer festival at the Portland Japanese Garden has roots in an old fable of two lovers allowed to meet only once per year, and includes storytelling, origami and traditional music.


Obon Festival

ObonFest, a traditional festival honoring ancestors, features Obon Odori dancing, taiko performances, martial arts demonstrations, temple talks, Asian crafts, kids’ activities and food. Free practice sessions for odori folk dancing at ObonFest are held in late July and early August.


Festival Japan

This annual festival, held at Uwajimaya grocery store in Beaverton, features performances, martial arts, Japanese children’s games, a silent auction, eating contests and more.


Kiku Matsuri

The flower-viewing Kiku Matsuri festival at the Portland Japanese Garden highlights the chrysanthemum, Japan’s imperial flower.


Origami Workshop

Community volunteers demonstrate how to fold origami creations such as cranes at the Consulate-General of Japan in Portland’s popular family-friendly event, which is free and open to the public.