In 1915, the city requested a Japanese immigrant and his wife to transform an old rock quarry into a Japanese-styled garden, ... More
Japanese Tea Gardens (Sunken Gardens)
In 1915, the city requested a Japanese immigrant and his wife to transform an old rock quarry into a Japanese-styled garden, and a man named Mr. Kimi Eizo Jingu agreed to the task. He started with a rock house, which still stands today and is surrounded by winding pebble walkways, stone bridges, a waterfall and tranquil pools. His work transformed the old rock quarry into a garden filled with lily ponds and lush green vegetation. With the onset of World War II and the growing anti-Japanese sentiment that surrounded it, the city council changed the garden's name to "Chinese Sunken Garden." In 1983, the original name was finally restored.
The tea garden is a beautiful facility. Once it is completed it will be that much more satisfying to visit. The majority of the plants are native to texas. The garden is created mostly with limestone, also native to TX. It's not very japanese, perhaps my expectations were too high but not even the bamboo was exotic. Overall a nice place to visit, just not alot of chinese or japanese appeal.
I remembered visiting the Sunken Gardens years ago on family vacations when it was lushly vegetated with lily pads and flowers and stocked with fish. My memory of it was like a Monet painting. I was disappointed to see that the lily pads and fish were gone with the vegetation focused only along the main pathway. The large barren stretches of pond were bleak with muddy bottoms, it looked like they needed cleaning out. My husband, who spent his youth in Japan, said that it looked like the "Japanese" character had been pruned out of the place, there was nothing aesthetic about the way it looked. I was so looking forward to showing it to him, what a disappointment. Perhaps we went at the wrong time of year?
The place is in deplorable condition as of July 2008. There were no benches or tables to sit down on and relax. There were weeds on the paths/walkways and graffiti on an old historic tower (from when it was an active quarry years ago). The ponds appear to be in need of cleaning. The fish in them were few. Those there seemed to be possibly starving. If anything, including a leaf, fell in the water near where a few were located they reacted as if in a feeding frenzy. There was a large sign providing the information that a renovation was planned and that if a person wished to donate to a fund to assist in that there was an address. There was a large metal plaque near the entrance that was very corroded that told about the "Japanese Tea Gardens." Meanwhile there is a large beat up wood-like frame over the entrance to the path up to the gardens that says in letters above it: "Chinese Tea Garden!" As a resident of San Antonio I would not take anyone there. It is an embarassment! If they need some cash to maintain it, I wonder why there might not be something in which actual donations could be made. I believe that a lot of people would put something in it. Certainly more than the zero that it receives now from visitors.
When I was younger, my father was in the military and I was fortunate enough to have lived in Japan. When I got married, my wife and I honeymooned in San Antonio. We found this beautiful garden while on our way to the San Antonio Zoo. It was like stepping back in time and across space back into Japan. The trees, ponds, flowers and waterfalls are captivating. Tranquility flows through the enormous garden. I would suggest a visit to this wonderful garden to anyone who is going to be in the San Antonio area. And hey, if you don't enjoy it, it's free admission, so nothing lost.
The first thing I thought as I was walking through is..."I want to have my wedding here!" It was absolutely beautiful and I can't wait to go back! The time that I was there, the water had been taken out, but I can only imagine how beautiful the whole experience will be!!
the japanese tea gardens was the most beautiful place i've seen, it was the upmost spectacular sight, i just loved it, i wouldn't mind seeing it everyday, i don't think you could get tired of a place like this.
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