Japan falls in love with Portland, including its cuisine, beer & doughnuts

Boutique chocolate shop Alma is one of the latest Portland companies to be courted by the Japanese market. (KATU Photo)

Portland is popular with international tourists.

About 50,000 Japanese visitors travel to the Rose City every year, and now they're inviting Portland businesses to go back home with them.

Jeff Hammerly of Travel Portland says in the last couple of years the Japanese have really embraced the Portland style.

"Footwear, leather, outdoor - of course Columbia is huge, and then our culinary - our beers are blowing up in Japan," he says.

Sarah Hart owns boutique chocolate shop Alma and is one of the latest companies to be courted by the Japanese market.

"I don't know how they came to Alma, but they did, and I guess they liked what they saw," she says.

In February a major department store in Osaka devoted an entire space to Portland products. Alma was just one of the many local vendors.

"They re-created the Ace Hotel lobby. So it looked just like that with a green couch. That was right next to my booth," Hart says.

The relationship between the Rose City and Japan has been growing over the past 20 years, but Portland's popularity has hit a high point. And dozens of companies have taken the leap overseas.

"Those visitations by Japanese to Portland is what's driving businesses from here going to Japan," says Hammerly.

The next Portland pop up department store in Tokyo is in May.

We love doughnuts here in Portland, and they love our doughnuts in Japan.

Travel Portland says they line up around the block to get a taste of Blue Star Donuts.

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