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PNW Roadtrip: Portland: Japanese Garden / International Rose Test Garden

As traffic started to slow to a crawl, I decided to direct MS to take the next exit. I didn’t tell him where we were going. He later admitted he was a bit disappointed because he thought we were going to the Zoo (same exit) and wasn’t really looking forward to a Zoo visit. Good thing that wasn’t in my plan.
Unlike most of this trip, I had been to the Japanese Gardens before.  These gardens occupy a bit more than 5 acres in the West Hills of Portland. These gardens have been called the most authentic Japanese Gardens outside of Japan.  Luckily when we were there, there wasn’t a ton of people.
Like the rest of this trip, the GPS gave us some funky directions — and the signs aren’t all that clear (to us) either. So we spent about 20 minutes driving through the area trying to find the gardens. We almost gave up, but I am glad we didn’t.
These gardens are so tranquil, but surrounded by a very active park – people running, playing and even the zoo train goes right by this place, but it was still very calming.

Right next to the Japanese Gardens is the oldest continuously operating public rose test garden in the US. The garden is about 5 acres as well and is home to approximately 7,000 plants and more than 500 varieties of roses.   My dad was a big fan of rose bushes and always had several plants in the yard when I was growing up.  The views from the test garden are spectacular as well.
These two stops were just chosen because we were stuck in traffic.  A great alternative to sitting in traffic, right?
I love this view of Portland,
with Mount Hood in the background.

Have you been to these two gardens? Are you a regular visitor?  Do you search for an oasis of calm during your urban adventures?  When traveling to you try to visit the highest point in the area to snap a great picture of the area?

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