What began as a pit created from its years as a limestone quarry and cement factory, the Japanese Tea Garden is now a beloved jewel in San Antonio’s cultural landscape. In 1916, Park Commissioner Ray Lambert looked out over the rocky void and envisioned something beautiful: a Japanese style garden complete with a waterfall and koi pond. Lambert’s design for a Texas version of a tea garden was sparked by the Japanese art and fashion that were highly popular throughout the American West in the early 20th century.
Undeterred by the small size of the parks department at the time, Lambert marshaled the efforts of local citizens and businesses interested in creating this new, enchanting setting.
The quarry was shaped into a complex that includes walkways, stone arch bridges, an island, and a “Japanese” pavilion. The garden was known as the “lily pond” and beautified by local residents who donated flower bulbs.
The San Antonio Parks Foundation completed extensive infrastructure rehabilitation to this unique attraction, including improved walkways, piping, filtration, wall repairs, and pond sealing. The restored garden features a lush year-round floral display with shaded walkways, stone bridges, a 60-foot waterfall and ponds filled with koi. Still thriving after 100 years, the Japanese Tea Garden is dear to the hearts of local residents and tourists alike and remains one of the most photographed
spots in San Antonio.
a lovely backdrop for
and corporate events.
The Jingu House is an ideal setting for wedding receptions, corporate or private social events, rehearsal dinners, cocktail receptions, and private dining. The patio, pavilion, and upper garden are available for private dining or events after 5pm and can accommodate up to 300 guests.
Until further notice, no photo permit is required to take photos at the Japanese Tea Garden.
The upper garden and pavilion areas of the historic Japanese Tea Garden and the Jingu House restaurant are accessible by ramp. The lower garden is accessible only by stairs. There are designated accessible parking in the Japanese Tea Garden parking lot.
download the app
Designed for users of all ages, the app includes a wealth of information including a visual history of the garden, a map of the garden, and AR locations. The six augmented reality experiences include a selfie with Kokoro the flying dragon, the release of a custom-colored koi into the ponds, and an insight into the Japanese tea ceremony.
a long-lasting legacy
the jingu family fund for the arts.
Through four generations of the Jingu family, we remember and honor Eizo and Miyoshi Jingu and their children – Mary, Ruth, Rae, James, Helen, Mabel, Lillian, and Kimi. We hope to connect their artistic endeavors with all who visit the Jingu House at the Japanese Tea Garden. In their lifetime, they explored new ways to enjoy tea, wrote poetry, created flower arrangements, exhibited ceramics and so much more with laughter and fun shared by all.
To further the Jingu family legacy, the San Antonio Parks Foundation support projects at the Japanese Tea Garden that enhance each visitor’s experience and support artists in San Antonio and beyond.