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.
Know Before You Go
As of June 30, 2021, COVID restrictions have been lifted in Portland and the state of Oregon. While events are now allowed, some events may still be canceled, postponed or held virtually. Please check the event website for the most up-to-date information.
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.
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 Japanese American Museum of Oregon commemorates the incarceration of more than 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry during World War II.
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.
Cherry Blossom Bazaar
This highly-anticipated annual event takes place in mid-March. Admission is free, and it’s a great place to find Japanese clothing, furniture and unusual collectibles. There’s something for every age, interest and budget. All proceeds benefit the Japanese American Museum of Oregon.
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.
Choose from private suites, pop-up events, tiki drinks and Chinese food as you select your ideal Portland karaoke venue from among the city’s top spots.
The Portland ramen scene has exploded in recent years, spurred by the arrival of two authentic eateries straight from Tokyo.
Portland is only an hour away from the Pacific Ocean, so it should come as no surprise that the city’s sushi options are both delicious and expansive.
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.
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.
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.
Learn how to hunt and gather Matsutake mushrooms from a master forager. This experience is designed for novices and typically includes a day trip and overnight option.
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.
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