Tuesday, June 07, 2022

Fun Photos (Tea Garden)

 We visited the Japanese Tea Garden (aka Chinese Tea Garden and Sunken Tea Garden) last weekend, and it is breathtaking. Pictures do not do it justice!

The sign says "Chinese" because during WWII, due to anti-Japanese sentiment in the U.S., this entrance was built saying Chinese instead of Japanese.  The building was renamed permanently as the Japanese Sunken Tea Garden in 1984 but the sign was not changed.

Before it became the Tea Garden, this was a limestone quarry that played a huge role in the development of cement. When the 7 acre quarry ran out, there was just a huge whole in the ground, and plans were made to create the garden. In 1918, prison labor was used to create stone pathways, stairs, limestone arch bridges,  Japanese Koi ponds, a lily garden, a 60 foot waterfall, and a stone pagoda.

A Japanese family lived in a home onsite and took care of the garden, raised their 8 children, and ran a restaurant next to the garden... that is, until WWII began.  They were forced to leave their home. (To their credit, a Methodist church found housing for them.)

Without a caretaker, the garden fell into disrepair. From 2007-2011 repairs and renovations took place.  The San Antonio Parks Foundation currently takes care of the garden.

The garden is listed as a Texas Civil Engineering Landmark, a Registered Texas Historic Landmark, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
If you ever get the chance to visit, I highly recommend it!

For more fun photos, visit Image-in-ing and/or Wordless Wednesday.


  1. I appreciate the big hearts of the Methodists and their every day faith.

    Also this Sunken Tea Garden is big in Texas.

    Adelaide Dupont @ Halfway up Rysy Peak

    [San Antonio - so good to see something GOOD from there when we are thinking about that town 80 kilometres away].

    And it's rare to have something - Good engineering and Good History.

    1. I was thinking about Uvalde the whole time we were in San Antonio. I still am. I live 20 miles north of Santa Fe, and I'm a retired teacher. It is weighing heavily on my heart.

  2. In San Francisco is a similar tea garden, (If I remember it correctly I think it's called a Japanese tea garden, and is probably younger than this one. I love these kind of gardens, and of course we had tea, too:)

  3. When i went to San Antonio to visit a friend, we went there, it was indeed worth the visit!


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